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FUND     GIVEN     IN     1891     BY 


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GN656   .589 

Native  races  of  South  Africa:  a  history 

3   1924  029  888  587 


Date  Due 

I— 1^^=^^^^ 





Cornell  University 

The  original  of  tiiis  book  is  in 
tine  Cornell  University  Library. 

There  are  no  known  copyright  restrictions  in 
the  United  States  on  the  use  of  the  text. 


Bushman  Childrkn. 
From  a  Photograph. 

Bushman   of  the   'Gakiei-. 
From  a  Photograph. 




A  History  of  the  Intrusion  of  the  Hottentots  and  Bantu 

into  the  Hunting  Grounds  of  the  Bushmen, 

the  Aborigines   of  the  Country 


GEORGE  W.  STOW,  F.G.S.,  F.R.G.S. 

Edited  by 

Formerly  Keeper  of  the  Archives  of  the  Cape  Colony  and  at  present  Colonial  Historiographer 
Author  of  ^^  History  of  South  Africa"  in  seven  volumes 



New  York  :   THE  MACMILLAN  CO. 





Editor's    Preface 

The  author  of  this  volume  died  before  it  was  ready  for 
the  press.  The  illustrations  had,  most  fortunately,  been 
carefully  prepared,  and  they  are  reproduced  by  chromo- 
lithography,  so  that  they  are  indistinguishable  from  the 
originals,  except  that  most  of  them  have  been  reduced 
in  size.  The  manuscript  was  purchased  by  Miss  Lucy  C. 
Lloyd  from  Mr.  Stow's  widow,  with  the  intention  of  hav- 
ing it  published,  but  other  work  has  prevented  that  lady 
from  bestowing  upon  it  the  time  and  care  needed  for  its 

In  1904  Miss  Lloyd,  feeling  that  a  work  of  such  im- 
portance ought  to  be  placed  before  the  public  without 
further  delay,  did  me  the  honour  of  submitting  the  manu- 
script for  my  inspection  and  advice  as  to  what  should  be 
done  in  the  matter.  It  needed  only  a  hasty  look  through 
the  packets  to  impress  me  with  the  conviction  that  no 
production  of  such  value  upon  the  native  races  of  South 
Africa  had  yet  appeared,  and  I  was  therefore  most  anxious 
that  it  should  be  published.  I  may  add  that  the  draft 
of  Mr.  Stow's  intended  dedication  of  the  result  of  his 
researches  to  that  highly  gifted  and  justly  esteemed 
governor,  Sir  Bartle  Frere,  whose  aid  and  encouragement 
were  also  extended  to  me  in  a  special  manner,  had  no 
little  influence  in  stimulating  me  to  undertake  the  task 
of  seeing  the  work  through  the  press. 

Miss  Lloyd,  who  is  the  greatest  living  authority  upon 
the  Bushmen,  attested  the  accuracy  of  much  in  Mr.  Stow's 
description  of  the  customs  and  mode  of  life  of  those 
people,  though  she  doubted  whether  his  division  of  that 
race  into  the  two  branches  of  painters  and  sculptors 
could  be  maintained,  thinking  it  probable  that  this  matter 


was  determined  by  locality  and  convenience.  The 
accuracy  of  his  accounts  of  the  Barolong  and  Bakuena 
tribes  I  can  myself  confirm,  as,  independent  of  researches 
in  books  and  manuscript  records,  I  was  on  several  occa- 
sions directed  by  the  high  commissioner.  Lord  Loch,  to 
investigate  territorial  claims  between  rival  chiefs  of  those 
branches  of  the  Bantu  family,  and  have  been  for  weeks 
together  engaged  in  taking  evidence  from  the  disputants, 
their  counsellors,  and  antiquaries,  upon  their  history  as 
far  back  as  tradition  reached,  which  I  find  correctly  given 
in  these  pages.  It  appears  also,  from  Mr.  Stow's  manu- 
script, that  he  had  the  assistance  of  the  late  Charles  Sirr 
Orpen,  Esquire,  a  gentleman  whose  researches  into  the 
history  of^various  native  tribes  extended  over  a  very 
long  period,  and  were  carried  on  with  diligence  and  care- 
fulness never  surpassed. 

On  the  other  hand,  it  is  only  right  to  mention  that 
Mr.  Stow  never  had  an  opportunity  of  research  in  the 
colonial  archives,  and  was  dependent  entirely  upon  other 
authors,  chiefly  Lieutenant-Colonel  Sutherland,  for  in- 
formation concerning  the  Hottentot  tribes  at  the  time  of 
the  settlement  of  the  Dutch  in  South  Africa.  Those 
tribes  certainly  extended  farther  along  the  coast  to  the 
eastward  than  he  describes  them  to  have  done.  For  the 
same  reason  his  account  of  the  early  career  of  Jager 
Africaander  is  not  quite  accurate.  But  these  are  very 
small  blemishes,  and  detract  only  in  a  shght  degree  from 
the  value  of  his  work. 

The  manuscript  when  it  came  into  my  hands  was  in 
an  unfinished  state.     It  was  not  divided  into  chapters 
and  the  paragraphs  were  often  of  great  length.     It  was 
clogged  with  a  vast  number  of  extracts  from  almost  pvery 
English  book  previously  published  upon  South  Africa 
some  of  which  were  given  to  corroborate  the  author's 
statements,  others  that  their  inaccuracies  might  be  shown 
To  have  retained  these  would  have  swelled  the  book  t ' 


such  a  size  that  no  publisher  would  have  undertaken  to 
issue  it,  and  they  really  added  very  little  to  its  value. 
With  Miss  Lloyd's  consent,  I  therefore  struck  nearly  all 
of  them  out.  The  remainder  of  the  manuscript  I  divided 
into  chapters  of  convenient  length  for  readers,  and  I  broke 
up  the  long  paragraphs  into  short  ones.  I  added  nothing 
whatever  to  the  text,  and,  except  in  a  very  few  instances, 
I  retained  the  author's  spelling  of  proper  names,  though 
often  differing  from  that  in  my  own  history.  The  date 
on  the  draft  of  Mr.  Stow's  preface  is  the  latest  given  by 
him,  but  would  probably  have  been  altered  had  he  lived 
to  complete  the  work  himself. 

The  photographs  of  Bushmen  were  supplied  by  Miss 
Lloyd  from  her  large  collection.  They  show  the  striking 
features  of  the  people  of  this  race  :  the  hollow  back,  the 
lobeless  ear,  the  receding  chin,  the  sunken  eye,  the  low- 
ness  of  the  root  of  the  nose,  the  scanty  covering  of  the 
head  with  little  knots  of  wiry  wool,  and  the  low  angle  of 
prognathism  as  compared  with  negroes. 

Having,  jointly  with  Miss  Lloyd,  corrected  the  proofs 
and  revises,  I  added  an  index,  which  is  indispensable  for 
a  work  of  reference,  and  with  this  completed  what  was 
no  more  than  the  duty  of  one  holding  the  appointment 
of  colonial  historiographer  with  respect  to  a  work  of  such 
importance  for  both  ethnological  and  historical  study  as 
this  of  Mr.  Stow,  who  has  been  long  in  his  grave,  and 
whom  I  never  had  the  pleasure  of  meeting,  though  my 
researches  in  the  same  field  were  well  advanced  in  one 
part  of  South  Africa  before  his  ended  in  another. 

London,  May,  1905. 


On  my  arrival  in  the  Cape  Colony  in  1843,  having  settled  on  the 
extreme  border,  I  was  not  long  in  discovering  that,  although  the 
settlers  were  in  daily  contact  with  races  entirely  different  from 
their  own,  no  reliable  information  could  be  obtained  of  the  manners 
and  customs,  much  less  of  the  early  history  of  these  strange 

The  struggle  for  existence  among  the  settlers  themselves  was 
of  too  keen  and  earnest  a  character  to  allow  of  the  leisure  neces- 
sary to  carry  out  such  an  inquiry  systematically,  from  the  con- 
stant state  of  hostility  which  existed  between  them,  owing  to  the 
almost  unchecked  depredations  of  the  frontier  tribes.  As  was 
natural,  such  a  condition  of  affairs  fostered  a  feeling  that  was 
altogether  antagonistic  to  the  development  of  that  frame  of  mind 
which  alone  can  enable  us  to  judge  dispassionately  and  impartially 
of  men  whose  savage  and  untutored  instincts  urged  them  to 
plunder  the  more  peaceful  and  well-disposed  colonists,  and  to 
glory  in  the  excitement  of  continuous  raids  upon  the  herds  of 
their  white  neighbours.  Thus  a  state  of  chronic  warfare  was 
entailed  upon  both  parties,  with  intermittent  periods,  of  greater 
or  less  duration,  of  armed  truce. 

Under  such  circumstances,  few  took  sufficient  interest  in  the 
obnoxious  tribes  by  which  they  were  surrounded  to  attempt  to 
collect  any  of  the  traditionary  history  connected  with  them,  and 
the  works  of  those  travellers  who  had  visited  the  country  before 
the  war  of  races  had  assumed  its  subsequent  proportions  and 
intensity,  were  at  that  time  unobtainable.  The  greater  number 
of  the  missionaries  who  were  then  residing  among  them,  and  who 
might  have  collected  many  of  the  traditions  which  are  now  lost 
for  ever,  considered  the  past  history  of  a  race  of  savages  as  a 
matter  of  little  moment  in  comparison  with  making  converts  to 
their  own  special  ideas  of  salvation,  and  even  when  any  facts 
regarding  their  new  proteges  were  recorded  by  them  they  in 
general  gave  such  a  biassed  and  distorted  description  as'to  render 
their  evidence  so  untrustworthy  as  to  be  perfectly  valueless  in 
carrying  out  any  impartial  philosophical  or  ethnological  inauirv 

The  simple  fact  that  certain  tribes  were  found  occupying  some 
given  tract  of  country  at  the  time  of  the  missionary's  arrival  was 
of  Itself,  without  further  question,  deemed  irrefragable  proof  that 
these  particular  natives  must  have  been  its  rightful  owners  from 
time  immemorial.  Thus  erroneous  statements  and  unfounded 
claims  were  not  only  promulgated,  but  upheld  with  a  holy  fervour 

viii  ' 



a  positiveness  of  assertion,  and  acrimony  of  feeling,  which  were 
only  equalled  by  the  profound  ignorance  of  the  disputants  with 
regard  to  the  real  state  of  the  case.  The  white  nations  were 
looked  upon,  and  spoken  of,  as  the  only  intruders  into  the  ancient 
domains  of  the  "  poor  natives,"  and  the  only  race  which  had 
trodden  under  foot,  with  a  remorselessness  and  cruelty  deserving 
universal  execration,  the  rights  of  the  ill-treated  aborigines. 

Each  of  the  men  of  this  school  confidently  asserted  that  his 
own  special  tribe,  or  the  one  he  had  taken  under  his  own  special 
protection,  was  the  true  representative  of  the  original  possessors 
of  the  soil.  Such  was  the  spirit  in  which  inquiries  were  made  into 
tribal  history  from  1843  to  1853,  if  such  dogmatic  assertions  can 
be  called  inquiry.  How  then  can  it  be  a  matter  of  wonder  that 
so  many  unfounded  theories  were  circulated,  giving  rise  to  a  multi- 
tude of  erroneous  opinions,  many  of  which  are  current  at  the 
present  day  ?  One  fallacious  statement  backed  up  another,  and 
they  were  so  often  reiterated  that  they  not  only  gained  implicit 
credence,  but,  from  the  character  of  their  promulgators,  were 
considered  to  carry  with  them  an  authority  which  ought  not  to 
be  doubted  ;  and  thus,  ultimately,  the  claims  of  the  true  aborigines 
of  this  portion  of  the  continent  were  lost  sight  of  entirely. 

For  some  years  after  my  arrival  in  the  Colony  I  was  impressed 
with  the  idea  that  the  Hottentots  were  the  aboriginal  inhabitants 
of  the  western,  and  the  Kaffirs  of  the  eastern  portion  of  the 
country,  and  that  the  Bushmen  were  waifs  possessing  no  parti- 
cular claims  to  territory,  nor  any  fixed  place  of  abode.  My  ideas, 
however,  upon  this  point  underwent  a  considerable  change  as  my 
notes  accumulated,  for  as  I  gained  more  and  more  information 
regarding  the  native  tribes,  I  became  gradually  impressed  with 
a  firm  conviction  that  the  Bushmen  alone  were  the  true  aborigines 
of  the  country,  and  that  all  the  stronger  races,  without  exception, 
were  mere  intruders.  Traces  of  Bushman  cave-paintings  were 
still  to  be  found  in  every  direction,  and  even  in  localities  where 
for  a  generation  or  two  no  Bushmen  had  been  seen.  In  the  first 
instance  the  existence  of  these  primitive  artistic  productions 
suggested  the  idea  of  gathering  materials  for  a  history  of  the 
Bushmen,  as  illustrated  by  themselves. 

In  carrying  out  this  design,  every  additional  item  of  informa- 
tion but  tended  to  establish  the  fact  that  they  were  once  thickly 
spread  over  the  whole  country,  and  that  their  occupation  could 
also  be  traced  far  towards  the  north,  even  into  the  tropics  ;  and 
the  evidence  proved,  in  as  equally  conclusive  a  manner,  that  there 
was  doubtless  a  time  when  they  were  the  sole  proprietors  of  the 
country.  This  conclusion  brought  me  face  to  face  with  the  ques- 
tion of  "  the  Intrusion  of  the  Stronger  Races."  Such  queries  as, 
whence  could  they  have  come,  and  what  could  have  been  the 
order  of    their  arrival,  thus    presenting    themselves,  naturally 


aroused  a  desire  to  obtain,  if  possible,  some  information  upon  so 
interesting  a  subject.  I  then  commenced  collecting  data  upon 
this  particular  point,  although  I  did  so  with  many  doubts  as  to 
the  probabihty  of  accompHshing  such  a  task,  intending  if  I  suc- 
ceeded to  devote  a  section  of  the  contemplated  work  to  its  con- 

Although  I  ultimately,  after  some  years'  perseverance,  effected 
my  object  beyond  my  most  sanguine  expectations,  nevertheless 
at  the  commencement  difficulties,  even  from  unexpected  quarters, 
were  ever  presenting  themselves  :  such  as  the  apathy  displayed 
upon  the  subject  by  far  the  greater  number  of  people  appealed  to, 
even  of  educated  men,  who  from  their  position  were  most  advan- 
tageously situated  for  gleaning  the  scattered  traditions  of  the 
various  tribes  ;  ^he  suspicion  with  which  some  of  the  old  natives 
themselves  looked  upon  such  inquiries  also  frequently  baffled  every 
effort  to  obtain  reliable  evidence  from  them,  as  they  imagined 
there  must  be  some  ulterior  motive  in  seeking  for  information 
with  regard  to  their  early  movements,  having  no  idea  that  such 
a  thing  could  be  done  from  a  simple  desire  of  acquiring  historical 
knowledge.  On  many  such  occasions,  therefore,  they  feigned 
profound  ignorance  and  obliviousness,  while  the  younger  men  of 
the  rising  generation,  instead  of  troubling  themselves  about  the 
ancient  traditions  of  their  tribes,  seem,  as  a  rule,  desirous  of  for- 
getting and  even  obliterating,  if  possible,  the  recollection  of  the 
antecedents  of  their  savage  forefathers^ 

Under  such  adverse  conditions  several  years  were  spent  almost 
profitlessly,  in  vain  attempts  to  procure  the  desired  data.  Still, 
during  this  time  a  sufficient  number  of  ghmpses  were  obtained, 
which  clearly  demonstrated  the  fact  that  traditions  of  this  migra- 
tory movement  were  to  be  found  among  all  the  tribes  of  the 
stronger  races. 

At  length  more  favourable  circumstances  brought  me  im- 
mediately in  contact  with  a  great  number  of  various  tribes,  or 
fragments  of  tribes,  when,  as  the  evidence  upon  the  point  at  issue 
accumulated,  it  proved  with  every  addition  more  convincing  and 
overwhelming.  It  was  during  this  period  that  I  became  indebted 
to  the  zealous  co-operation  of  Mr.  Charles  Sirr  Orpen,  of  Smith- 
field,  Orange  Free  State,  and  much  of  the  success  in  the  ethno- 
logical researches  I  have  since  carried  out  has  been  due  to  his 
untiring  energy.  I  received  important  assistance  also  from  the 
investigations  of  Captain  Blyth,  chief  magistrate  of  the  Trans- 
keian  Territory,  the  Rev.  H.  Moore-Dyke,  of  Morija,  British 
Basutuland,  the  Rev.  Roger  Price,  of  the  Northern  Bakuena,  the 
Rev.  Richard  Giddy,  of  the  Native  Reserve,  Herschel,  and  the 
Rev.  F.  Maeder,  of  the  Bataung  mission,  which  they  readily  and 
heartily  entered  into  at  my  suggestion.  I  have  also  to  thank 
Miss  Lucy  C.  Lloyd,  Judge  Buchanan,  and  Mr.  Alfred  Barlow  for 



the  valuable  aid  they  afforded  me  in  supplying  me  with  works 
of  reference,  which  under  other  circumstances  it  would  have  been 
impossible  to  have  obtained  so  far  in  the  Interior.  From 
among  the  multitude  of  native  authorities,  I  am  especially  be- 
holden to  the  Basutu  chief  Mapeli,  and  Lipatsane,  the  last  chief 
of  the  Bakulukwa  (a  branch  of  the  Baputi),  for  their  vivid  word- 
pictures  of  numerous  stirring  episodes  in  the  history  of  the  tribes 
with  which  they  were  acquainted.  The  descriptive  powers  of 
Mapeli  are  seldom  equalled,  even  among  the  natives,  although 
many  excel  in  the  figurative  and  poetic  style  of  language  which 
they  employ  when  relating  the  exploits  of  their  chiefs. 

After  my  investigations  had  arrived  at  this  stage,  the  long- 
desired  information  almost  poured  in  from  every  quarter,  until 
the  materials  upon  the  early  migrations  of  the  races  now  residing 
in  South  Africa  attained  such  proportions  that  it  became  neces- 
sary to  modify  the  original  plan,  and  arrange  them  as  a  distinct 
work  under  the  present  title. 

Such  then  was  the  origin  of  "  The  Races  of  South  Africa  "  ; 
but,  after  aU  the  time  expended  in  collecting  the  materials,  it 
has  necessarily  been  made  up  of  shreds  and  patches,  so  much  so 
that  one  cannot  help  being  painfully  impressed  with  its  many 
shortcomings  and  imperfections,  and  must  ever  regret  that  such 
an  attempt  was  not  made  some  fifty  years  ago.  Since  the  com- 
mencement of  the  present  century  how  many  of  the  old  tribal 
chroniclers,  men  who  were  the  great  repositories  of  the  tradi- 
tionary lore  of  the  country,  have  not  been  suddenly  cut  off  in  the 
merciless  native  wars  which  have  intervened.  The  few  survivors 
are  now  old,  most  of  them  very  old  men,  widely  scattered  and 
hidden  in  the  nooks  and  corners  of  the  land,  and  are  fast  dis- 
appearing from  the  face  of  the  earth  ;  while  the  quasi-educated 
native  looks  with  contempt  upon  the  tribal  traditions  of  his  fore- 
fathers, and  thus  as  each  one  of  these  ancients  passes  away,  so 
much  knowledge  with  regard  to  the  tribes  of  South  Africa  is  lost 
for  ever.  It  is  certain  that  before  another  quarter  of  a  century 
has  elapsed,  the  opportunity  of  rescuing  any  portion  of  it  from 
oblivion  will  have  irrevocably  glided  from  our  grasp. 

Even  those  native  authorities  of  the  present  day  who  profess 
that  they  have  preserved  some  portion  of  the  history  of  their 
tribes  have  so  mutilated  and  adulterated  the  traditions,  modify- 
ing them  to  suit  the  altered  conditions  of  the  nation  or  tribe  to 
which  they  belong,  that  the  originality  and  authenticity  of  these 
narrations  have  at  length  in  many  instances  become  so  com- 
pletely obscured  or  destroyed  that  they  are  rendered  nearly  value- 
less as  affording  material  whereon  to  build  a  reliable  and  veracious 
tribal  history. 

This  was  seen  in  a  marked  manner  in  gathering  materials  for 
the  memoirs  upon  the  Frontier  Hottentots,  Griquas,  and  Basutu. 



With  regard  to  the  last,  the  discrepancies  between  the  evidence 
given  by  Nehemiah  Moshesh,  a  younger  son  of  Moshesh,  in  1880, 
and  that  of  Mokoniane,  a  great  fighting  captain  of  the  Bamokoteri, 
a  clan  of  the  Basutu,  to  M.  Arbousset,  in  1834-6,  as  well  as  that 
of  Mapeli,  a  brother  of  Moshesh,  and  contemporary  of  Mokoniane, 
in  1878  to  myself,  are  striking  instances  of  this  fact.  The  state- 
ments of  Nehemiah  evidently  embody  all  the  additions  and  modi- 
fications which  have  been  made  to  the  original  tribal  history. 
This  tampering  has  been  clearly  intended  to  show  that  from  the 
commencement  Moshesh  had  a  rightful  claim,  both  by  descent 
and  inheritance,  to  the  paramount  chieftainship  of  the  Basutu 
nation,  as  well  as  to  the  territory  over  which  he  subsequently 
attempted  to  exercise  sovereignty ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  those 
of  Mokoniane  and  Mapeli  give  the  history  of  the  rise  of  the  clan 
of  Moshesh  with  a  clearness  which  is  unmistakable  as  to  the  in- 
significance and  second-rate  position  of  the  Bamokoteri  at  the 
outset  of  Moshesh's  career,  before  his  ambition  led  him  to  lay 
claim  to  every  inch  of  country  over  which  his  marauding  parties 
had  pushed  their  cattle  raids.  Again,  their  evidence  is  equally 
distinct  upon  the  point  of  the  Bamonaheng  chiefs  being  acknow- 
ledged as  the  paramount  power  at  the  time  when  the  Bamokoteri 
were  nothing  more  than  a  miserable  sept  occupying  a  most  cir- 
cumscribed piece  of  country  among  the  rugged  ravines  near  the 
sources  of  the  Caledon.  The  two  other  narrators  spoke  of  what 
they  had  themselves  witnessed  ;  the  younger  gave  the  tribal 
traditions  after  they  had  been  trimmed  up  and  modified  so  as  to 
support  the  more  ambitious  schemes  and  ideas  of  the  dynasty 
of  Moshesh. 

The  knowledge  of  such  facts  indicated  the  necessity  of  em- 
ploying considerable  caution  in  collating  the  evidence  ^ihus 
obtained  from  witnesses  swayed  by  different  interests,  and  who 
therefore  viewed  the  occurrences  they  narrated  from  different 
standpoints.  To  arrive  at  impartial  and  trustworthy  conclusions 
has  been  the  consummation  I  have  striven  to  achieve  in  the  com- 
pilation of  the  present  work  ;  viz.  to  separate  as  much  as  possible 
the  reliable  from  the  fictitious,  so  that  if  it  does  not  reveal  the 
whole  truth  (an  accomplishment  which  is  an  impossibility,  since 
so  much  of  it  has  been  irrecoverably  lost),  it  may  at  any  rate 
shed  some  additional  hght  upon  the  Races  of  South  Africa,  and 
possibly  be  the  means  of  rescuing  some  portion  of  their  traditions 
from  the  oblivion  which  threatens  them  ;  while  their  diffusion 
may  lead  to  more  correct  opinions  being  entertained  with  regard 
to  them. 

GEO.  W.  STOW. 

Bloemfontein,  Orange  Free  State, 
6th  September,  1880. 




K.C.B.,  G.C.S.L,  F.R.S.,  etc.,  etc.. 

Governor  of  the  Cape  Colony 

AND  Her  Majesty's  High  Commissioner  for  South  Africa, 

j  THIS  work  is  respectfully  dedicated, 

as  a  token  of  appreciation  of  the  encouraging  interest 

(  HE   has   shewn,    since   HIS   ARRIVAL 

/'        IN  the  ethnological  studies  of  the  author. 
/'  Geo.  W.  Stow. 

''  in  the  country. 




1  Portrait  of  a  Bushman  .  .  .  ■  • 

2  Bushman  Rock  Chipping      ....•• 

3  Stone  Implements  for  making  Ostrich  Eggshell  Beads  . 

4  Portraits  of  Bushman  Children     .  .  .  .  . 

5  Bushman  Pipes  for  smoking  Dacha 

6  Bushman  Quiver  and  Poisoned  Arrows 

7  Bushman  Painting  showing  Disguised  Hunter 

8  Bushman  Painting  of  Gnus  and  other  Animals     . 

9  Bushman  Musical  Instruments 

10  Bushman  Painting  of  Elands  and  Lions 

11  Carved  Stone  Bowl  of  Bushman  Hookah 

12  Hottentot  Woman  (from  Le  Vaillant) 

13  Basutu  Wall  Decorations 

14  Batlapin  Weapons        .... 

15  A  Copper  Casting  by  Bakuena     . 

16  Two  Copper  Castings  by  the  same  Tribe 

17  Wooden  Vessels  of  the  Bakuena  . 

18  Bachoana  and  Basutu  Spoons 

19  Bamangwato  Weapons 

20  Bamangwato  and  Mashona  Implements 

21  Bakuena  Wall  Decorations 

22  Bamangwato  Implements      . 

face  page 















Map  showing  Lines  of  Migration  of  the  various  Races. 




The  Ancient  Abatwa  or  Bushmen  .....         i 

The  Great  Antiquity  of  the  Bushmen  in  South  Africa         .       22 

Habits  of  the  Bushmen  .  .  .  .  .  .  -41 

Weapons  and  Implements  of  the  Bushmen     ....       62 


The  Bushmen's  Methods  of  Hunting  and  Fishing  .  .       80 

Social  Customs  of  the  Bushmen      ......       95 


Mode  of  Burial  of  the  Bushmen — Heaps  of  Stones — Some  of 

their  Beliefs    .........      125 


The  Various  Groups  of  Bushman  Tribes  .  .  .  -137 

The  Various  Groups  of  Bushman  Tribes  (continued)         .         .     155 


The  Various  Groups  of  Bushman  Tribes' {continued)         .  .     178 


The  Bushmen  of  the  Eastern  Province  of  the  Cape  Colony    .     198 


The  Struggle  of  the  Bushmen  for  Existence        .  213 


The  Encroachment  of  the  Stronger  Races  .         .         .     232 




The  Tribes  of  the  West  Coast 249 

The  Koranas  ....         ^.  ...  .     267 

Account  of  Various  Korana  Clans         .....     289 

The  Griquas  316 

Barend  Barends,  the  Original  Chief  of  the  Sept  of  the  Bas- 

TAARDS  ..........       339 

The  Griquas  of  the  Early  Settlement  ....     362 

The  Griqua  Chiefs  ........     378 

'  The  Agricultural  and  Pastoral  Bachoana  and  Basutu  Tribes 

of  the  North      ■■.......  404 

The  Tribes  of  the  Second  Period  of  the  Bachoana  Migration  .     432 

The  Career  of  the  Mantatee  Horde      .....     460 

The  Barolong  •••■•....     488 


The  Bakuena  or  Bakone  Tribes  ....  -jg 


The  Bakuena  of  the  North  .  ,^^ 


Index  ,^, 

•     503 

Chapter  I 


It  is  frequently  found  that  the  descriptions  given  by  various 
travellers  of  the  same  country  differ  very  considerably  the  one 
from  the  other,  and  yet  each  writer,  as  far  as  we  can  judge, 
appears  to  be  an  accurate  observer  and  reliable  in  noting  correctly 
whatever  came  under  his  observation.  This  diversity  has  arisen, 
not  from  want  of  ability  in  describing,  or  any  error  occasioned 
from  negligence,  but  rather  from  their  limited  experience,  from 
having  made  the  examination  at  different  periods,  and  under 
different  aspects.  Each  described  what  he  saw,  and  described  it 
correctly  ;  but  then  he  had  only  examined  its  features  in  one 
particular  light,  and  therefore  his  delineation  conveyed  only  a 
portion  of  the  truth.  Thus  one  travelling  on  the  western  side  of 
a  certain  mountain  range  may  tell  us  that  a  particular  crest  is 
capped  with  enormous  precipices,  which  are  perfectly  inacces- 
sible ;  another  approaching  it  from  the  east,  and  who  has  seen  it 
only  on  its  opposite  face,  informs  us  that  instead  of  being  pre- 
cipitous, the  mountain  in  question  slopes  to  the  very  top,  with  the 
exception  of  a  few  insignificant  fringing  precipices  detached  from 
one  another,  while  the  mountain  summit  may  be  easily  gained 
through  the  open  spaces.  The  fact  is  both  were  right,  but  in 
either  case  each  writer  had  only  an  opportunity  of  examining 
one  side  of  the  object  described  :  a  mountain  presenting  the 
features  of  "  crag  and  tail,"  often  met  with  in  different  portions 
of  Southern  Africa.  And  as  such  writers  differ  in  their  topo- 
graphical descriptions,  so  they  frequently  disagree  in  their 
deductions,  not  only  in  regard  to  the  country  itself,  but  also  the 
people  who  inhabit  it,  giving  rise  to  erroneous  ideas,  which,  at 
length,  by  being  repeated  by  others  even  less  informed  than 
themselves,  become  accepted  as  verities,  and  thus,  instead  of 
progressing  in  knowledge,  the  fallacies  become  stereotyped  and 


perpetuated,  without  further  questioning,  the  one  to  the  others. 

This  has  certainly  been  the  case  with  regard  to  the  aborigines 
of  South  Africa.  Much  has  been  said  and  written  about  them, 
but  much  error  still  exists  on  the  subject  among  those  who  have 
discussed  it.  Most  appear  to  have  entered  upon  the  topic  with  a 
foregone  conclusion  in  their  minds,  and  thus  their  examinations 
have  been  confined  to  one  side  of  the  mountain,  and  stopped 
short  at  the  very  point  at  which  they  would  have  become  the 
most  interesting.  The  writer  trusts  that  a  residence  of  thirty-six 
years  in  the  country,  during  which  time  he  has  been  animated 
with  the  desire  of  obtaining  reliable  data  upon  so  important  a 
question,  has  given  him  an  opportunity  of  inspecting  at  leisure 
the  typical  mountain  on  every  side,  and  thus  enabled  him  to 
speak  of  it  in  its  entirety  ;  and  that,  on  the  present  occasion,  by 
attempting  to  describe  it  in  its  different  aspects  and  from  different 
points  of  view  he  may  succeed  in  clearing  away  some  of  the 
mists  which  have  for  so  long  a  time  hidden  or  obscured  its  true 

In  this  attempt  he  is  duly  impressed  with  the  difficulties 
which  must  be  encountered  in  carrying  out  such  a  design,  and 
also  with  the  imperfections  which  must  naturally  cling  to  any 
endeavour  to  work  out  the  primitive  history  of  a  country  which 
never  possessed  a  history  of  its  own,  and  where  sources  of  infor- 
mation can  only  be  derived  from  scattered  and  fragmentary 
tribal  traditions  and  obscure  and  sometimes  apparently  con- 
flicting myths  ;  but  which,  doubtless,  possess  a  germ  of  truth 
that  may  possibly  be  discovered  by  careful  comparison  and  an 
almost  microscopical  examination.  Such,  then,  has  been  the 
somewhat  presumptuous  endeavour  of  the  writer  ;  but  he  can' 
assure  those  who  may  study  the  following  pages  that,  whatever 
shortcomings  may  be  found  in  them,  and  their  name  must  be 
legion,  it  was  only  after  long  years  of  close  investigation  and 
research  that  he  felt  himself  competent,  or  was  justified,  in 
making  the  present  effort  to  remove  some  of  the  mystery  and 
misconception  which  have  so  long  clouded  from  view  the  true 
aborigines  of  Southern  Africa.  Previously,  in  most  instances, 
they  have  been  described  differently  from  what  they  really 
were,  or  set  altogether  on  one  side  by  obtrusively  thrusting 
others  into  their  place  who  never  possessed  the  least  right  or 


title  to  be    classed  among  the    primitive  inhabitants   of  the 

In  carrying  out  this  design  we  will  consider  in  the  first  place — 

1 .  The  widely  extended  occupation  by  the  Bushmen  in  former 

times  ; 

2.  Their  probable  origin  in  the  North  ; 

3.  A  comparison  of  other  races  with  them  ; 

4.  Their  great  antiquity  in  South  Africa  ; 

5.  The  Bushmen  of  Southern  Africa  ; 

6.  Their  struggle  for  existence  ;  and 

7.  The  encroachment  of  the  stronget  races. 

I.  The  widely  extended   Occupation  by  the   Bushmen  in   Former 



A  considerable  number  of  native  traditions,  obtained  from 
widely  separated  sources,  are  almost  unanimous  with  regard  to 
the  direction  of  the  early  migrations  of  the  South  African  tribes, 
viz.  from  the  North  to  the  South. 

They  state,  as  a  rule,  that  as  their  forefathers  migrated 
southward,  they  found  the  entire  country  unoccupied,  except 
that  the  plains  swarmed  with  vast  herds  of  game.  They  ac- 
knowledge, however,  that  the  Bushmen  were  always  to  be  found 
where  the  game  was,  and  in  their  old  myths  of  the  origin  of  man 
they  declare  that  when  the  Great  Father  brought  men  out  of 
either  the  split  reed  or  the  fissure  of  a  rock,  the  Bushmen  had 
nothing  to  do  with  these  ;  he  existed  already  ;  therefore  in  speak- 
ing of  a  country  as  being  uninhabited  or  unoccupied,  the  hunter 
race  of  the  Bushmen  was  never  taken  into  account.  Other 
tribal  traditions,  again,  state  that  when  their  forefathers 
migrated  to  the  south,  they  found  the  land  without  inhabitants, 
and  that  only  the  wild  game  and  the  Bushmen  were  living  in  it, 
evidently  classing  the  Bushmen  and  the  game  in  the  same  cate- 
gory  as  wild  ammals_j^  „^   I^.At,  »..!«,«/,. 

The  portion  of  the  continent  with  which  we  are  now  more 
especially  interested  is  that  part  which  has  been  defined  as  a 
f one-shaped  mass  of  land  terminating  in  the  promontory  of  the 
Cape  of  Good  Hope.  This  cone  may  be  divided  into  three 
irregular  concentric  zones  or  belts,  each  being  marked  by  dis- 
tinct peculiarities  in  its  physical  features,  climate>  and  popula- 


tion.  Advancing  from  the  coast-line  to  the  centre,  these  appear 
to  rise  in  successive  steps  or  terraces,  the  outer  edges  of  each 
being  fringed  with  ranges  of  mountains  of  greater  or  less  eleva- 
tion, the  older  rocks  forming  a  rim  around  the  great  central 
plateau,  which  towards  the  middle  forms  a  vast  depressed, 
although  still  elevated  basin,  through  which  the  great  rivers 
'Nu  and  'Gij  Gariep  take  their  course. 

The  eastern  or  coast  zone  is  often  furnished  with  mountains, 
well-wooded  with  evergreen  trees  ;  its  seaboard  gorges  are  clad 
with  gigantic  timber.  It  is  abundantly  watered  with  streams, 
meandering  through  every  valley  and  ravine,  while  its  inhabit- 
ants, such  as  the  Amaxosa  and  Amazula,  are  taU  and  weU-made. 
The  next  is  that  which  embraces  the  more  central  portion  of  the 
continent,  the  greater  portion  of  which  was  once  occupied  by 
the  Great  Lake  region  of  Southern  Africa,  but  now  represented 
chiefly  by  immense  slightly  undulating  plains,  interspersed  with 
a  few  scattered  outhers  and  depressed  ridges.  It  contains 
comparatively  few  springs,  and  fewer  streams;  the  impervious 
water-bearing  rocks,  which  are  nearly  horizontal,  lying  in  most 
instances  considerably  below  the  surface.  Rain  also  is  far  from 
either  frequent  or  abundant,  and  periodical  droughts  visit  the 
country.  The  present  inhabitants  are  Bachoana  and  Basutu, 
a  race  of  men  inferior  to  the  coast  tribes  both  in  physical  develop- 
ment and  warlike  energy.  Interspersed  among  these  are  a  few 
insignificant  and  scattered  remnants  of  the  aboriginal  occupiers 
of  the  country,  but  who  are  rapidly  diminishing  in  numbers. 

The  western  zone,  which  includes  the  great  plain  of  the 
Kalahari  Desert,  is  stiU  more  level,  and  represents  portions  of 
the  uplands  of  the  old  lake  districts  whose  drainage  supplied 
the  streams  which  ran  into  the  basin  before  mentioned.  Here, 
mixed  with  scattered  remnants  of  other  broken  tribes,  are  found 
those  of  Hottentot  and  Bushman  origin,  the  former  being  the 
most  numerous  along  the  western  coast,  the  latter  scattered 
over  the  more  sandy  and  arid  plains  of  the  interior. 

There  can  be,  however,  little  doubt  but  that  at  one  time  the 
Bushmen  were,  as  they  are  described  in  the  native  traditions, 
the  sole  occupants  of  the  entire  country  here  indicated.  We 
have  not  only  traditions  in  support  of  this,  but  we  have  positive 
proof  of  this  occupation,  which  the  ancient  Bushmen  them- 


selves  have  recorded  upon  the  rocks,  in  their  paintings,  their 
sculptures  or  chippings,  and  stone  implements,  which  are  as 
much  their  imquestionable  title-deeds  as  those  more  formal 
documents  so  valued  among  landowners  in  more  civiUzed  por- 
tions of  the  earth.  Their  paintings  are  still  to  be  seen  in 
Damaraland,  their  sculptured  rocks  are  found  on  or  near  the 
banks  of  the  Mariqua  and  Malopo,  and  in  different  portions  of 
the  present  Batlapin  country.  Numerous  evidences  of  the 
same  kind  are  found  among  the  hills  of  Griqualand  West,  along 
the  banks  of  the  Vaal,  and  throughout  the  Free  State  territory, 
the  Malutis,  the  Witte  and  Storm  Bergen.  Their  chippings  or 
sculptures  were  found  spread  over  the  present  Division  of 
Beaufort  West,  and  the  caves  and  rock-shelters  of  the  Sneeuw- 
berg  were  filled  with  their  paintings. 

Until  the  latter  part  of  last  century  their  clans  were  still  in 
undisturbed  possession  of  the  present  colonial  divisions  of 
Somerset  and  Cradock,  the  Tarka  and  Winterberg,  Hanglip  and 
the  Bongolo,  and  throughout  the  entire  country  from  the  Bonte- 
bok  Flats  to  the  banks,  and  even  the  sources,  of  the  Tsomo. 
Traces  of  their  paintings  are  not  only  still  found  in  the  Trans- 
keian  Territory,  but  existed  until  very'  recently  at  Salem,  near 
Grahamstown  ;  while  some  fifty  years  ago  numerous  paintings 
were  preserved  in  many  of  the  rock-shelters  of  the  Kroome 
river,  Lange  Kloof,  and  George  mountains,  a  few  being  still 
left  as  near  Capetown  as  the  hills  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Worcester,  Ceres,  and  Stellenbosch  ;  while  the  remains  of  their 
less  perishable  stone  implements  are  scattered  over  the  entire 
area  from  one  end  to  the  other.  Traces  of  these  people  were, 
in  fact,  to  be  found  a  quarter  of  a  century  ago  in  almost 
every  direction,  both  in  the  Colony  and  in  Kaifirland.  '^ven 
in  the  land  of  the  irrepressible  Zulu,  although  no  paintings  have 
yet  been  noticed,  remnants  of  Bushman  tribes  are  still  found 
in  the  most  inaccessible  portions  of  the  country,  some  of  whom, 
reduced  to  the  lowest  stage  of  existence,  have  from  their  peculiar 
habits  obtained  the  name  of  Earthmenj^  ' 

Mr.  Moffat  and  some  other  writers  have  considered  that  the 
Hottentots  were  the  original  possessors  of  the  soil ;  abundance 
of  evidence  will  be  found  in  the  present  work  to  prove  most 
satisfactorily  that  the  Bushmen,  and  not  the  Hottentots,  were 


the  true  aborigines  of  the  country,  the  latter  being,  in  com- 
parison with  the  former,  intruders  of  a  recent  date.  It  is  only 
of  the  Bushman  race  that  it  can  be  truly  said  that  they  were 
robbed  by  every  other  race  with  which  they  came  in  contact, 
and  compelled  by  them  to  abandon  for  ever  the  land  of  their 

From  the  evidence  of  the  early  colonial  records,  Moffat, 
Arbousset,  and  other  writers  with  opportunities  of  observa- 
tion, each  corroborating  and  upholding  the  other,  there  cannot 
be  any  reasonable  cause  to  doubt  that  from  a  remote  period  to 
a  comparatively  recent  date  Southern  Africa  was  solely  in  the 
possession  of  the  Bushman  race.  As  we  proceed  in  our  investiga- 
tion we  shall  find  this  position  still  more  strongly  substantiated 
by  the  testimony  to  be  brought  forward,  when  we  come  to  con- 
sider the  subject  of  the  intrusion  of  the  stronger  races.  We 
will  now  take  under  consideration  the  second  point  of  our  in- 

2.  Their  Probable  Origin  in  the  North. 

It  seems  almost  as  certain  that  even  the  aboriginal  Bushmen 
migrated  to  the  south  as  that  they,  at  one  time,  were  the  sole 
possessors  of  the  country.  It  seems  somewhat  surprising  that 
so  many  writers  have  continued  to  class  these  people  with  the 
negroes  and  other  dark-skinned,  woolly-haired  species  of  men ; 
whereas  if  we  are  to  judge  from  their  physical  appearance,^ith 
the  sohtary  exception  of  the  hair,  no  two  sections  of  the  human 
race  could  be  more  divergent.  Their  closest  affinities  in  this 
respect  are  certainly  more  frequently  to  be  found  among  those 
now  inhabiting  the  Northern  Hemisphere  than  in  any  other 
portion  of  the  world-i  It  is  possible  that  the  character  of  the 
hair  may  point  to  the  fact  that  they  hold  a  kind  of  intermediate 
station,  a  kind  of  connecting  link,  but  still  one  more  nearly 
related  to  the  men  of  the  north  than  the  splay-footed,  swarthy 
races  of  Central  Africa. 

Even  the  bones  of  the  Bushmen  show  a  marked  difference 
from  those  of  a  large  number  of  the  negro  type.  The  writer  in 
his  long  and  frequent  wanderings  has  had  many  opportunities 
of  examining  the  striking  characteristics  which  they  present. 
This  is  particularly  noticeable  in  the  almost  perfectly  cylin- 


drical  shape  of  the  bones  of  the  extremities,  and  the  extreme 
smallness  of  their  hands  and  feet.  Every  observant  traveller 
who  has  come  in  contact  with  any  of  these  people  has  been 
struck  with  their  remarkably  diminutive  proportions.  "  The 
stature  of  both  sexes,"  writes  Harris,  "  is  invariably  below  five 
feet."  "  Their  complexion  is  sallow-brown."  "  The  women, 
who  were  much  less  shy,  are  of  small  and  delicate  proportions, 
with  hands  and  feet  of  truly  Lilliputian  dimensions.  Their 
footprints  reminded  us  of  Gulliver's  adventures,  and  are  not 
bigger  than  those  of  a  child.  Whilst  young  they  have  a  very 
pleasing  expression  of  countenance."  One  of  these  Bush- 
people  was  seen  by  this  enthusiastic  traveller,  whose  foot 
measured  barely  four  inches  in  length.  It  is,  therefore,  un- 
deniable that  their  diminutive  size  of  limb  gives  their  bones  a 
delicacy  of  shape  entirely  foreign  to  those  of  the  larger  and  more 
robust  races  alluded  to,  in  some  of  which  the  projecting  and 
uncouth-looking  os  calcis  becomes  a  wonderful  development. 

As  there  are  few  in  the  present  day   who  would  hazard  the 
opinion  that  the  Bushmen  were  "  a  special  creation,"  adapted 
peculiarly  to  South  Africa,  and  as  they  are  now  cut  off  from  the 
more  northern  birthplace  whence  they  probably  sprang,  by  a 
zone  of  nations  more  ferocious  than  themselves,  we  are  led  to 
suppose  that   the  impetus   which  caused   these   old   primitive   ^ 
hunters  to  migrate  farther  and  farther  to  the  southward  was  in  a 
period  of  such  remote  antiquity  that  it  must  have  been  previous 
to  the  occupation  of  the  country  by  the  savage  black  races  which 
now  form,  and  must  have  ever  formed  since  they  have  taken 
possession  of  the  intervening  area,  an  impenetrable  cordon  of 
barbarism,  which  the  weaker  hunter  tribes,   with  their  puny 
shafts,  could  never  have  forced  their  way  through.     The  original 
habitat  of  the  negro  is  clearly  involved  in  this  but  that  is  a  sub- 
ject which  must  be  left  for  future  discussion.     It  is  however 
almost  self-evident,  if  we  consider  but  for  a  moment  the  condition 
of  Central  Africa,  even    at    the   present   day,  as   described  by 
the  most  recent  travellers,    that   these   stronger  nations  must 
have  presented   the   impregnable   barrier  we   have  alluded   to, 
through  which  such  a  race  as  the  Bushmen  never  could  have 

What  Stanley  and  other  enterprising  travellers  describe  the 


bla  ck  tribes  to  be  now  has  doubtless  been,  with  such  unprogressive 
nations,  their  condition  for  unknown  centuries.  Had  the  remote 
ancestors  of  the  Bushmen  commenced  their  southern  migration 
after  the  occupation  of  the  central  lands  by  these  hordes  of  savage 
men,  the  smaller  and  weaker  hunter  race,  as  is  evident  from  their 
subsequent  history,  could  never,  as  we  have  before  stated,  have 
broken  through  such  a  cordon  of  fierce  barbarity.  All  the  evi- 
dence we  have  been  able  to  collect  tends  strongly  to  prove  that 
Ihe  Bushman  race  alone,  in  their  southward  migrations,  moved 
through  a  perfectly  unoccupied  and  uninhabited  country^  The 
other  and  stronger  races  closed  in  upon  their  southern  retreat 
and  followed"  their  footsteps  at  a  later  period. 

It  would  seem  from  the  present  researches  into  the  con- 
struction of  the  Bushman  language  that  its  northern  origin  will 
be  fully  established.  The  labours  of  the  late  lamented  Dr.  Bleek 
threw  much  new  hght  upon  this  important  subject ;  and  it  may 
be  looked  upon  as  one  of  the  most  primitive  forms  of  language 
which  has  survived  to  the  present  day.  And  the  striking  manner 
in  which  it  has  preserved  what  may  be  termed  its  purity  and 
individuality  is  evidently  owing  to  the  long  continued  isolation 
of  the  race  to  which  it  belonged.  Unhappily,  by  the  untimely 
death  of  the  eminent  philologist,  inquiry  was  suspended  just  at 
the  crisis  when  the  origin  of  grammatical  forms  of  gender  and 
number,  the  etymology  of  pronouns,  and  kindred  questions 
seemed  likely  to  be  solved.  One  of  the  great  objects  was  to 
examine  the  lower  or  more  primitive  forms  of  speech,  so  as  to 
exhibit  thoroughly  and  fundamentally  the  relations  in  which 
the  Hottentot  language  stands  to  some  of  the  northern  languages, 
such  as  the  Egyptian,  the  Semitic,  and  those  of  the  Indo-Euro- 
pean family;  in  fact,  to  establish  that  kinship  which  had  been 
indicated  by  the  Rev.  Dr.  Adamson,  long  resident  at  the  Cape. 

This  question  of  the  Bushman  language,  its  nearer  affinity  to 
those  of  the  northern  hemisphere  than  to  those  of  Central  Africa, 
and  its  freedom  from  any  foreign  intermixture,  are  points  of  the 
greatest  importance  in  support  of  the  position  which  we,  upon 
other  grounds,  have  taken  up.  One  cannot  imagine  any  two 
sections  of  the  human  race  coming  intimately  in  contact  with 
each  other,  without  one  or  both  adopting  in  a  greater  or  less 
degree  a  number  of  words  and  expressions  taken  from  each  other, 


and    tinderstood  by  both,   thus   becoming   indestructible   and 
indeUble  records  of  this  mutual  intercourse. 

South  Africa  affords  a  very  apt  illustration  of  the  manner 
in  which  this  process  takes  place.  Thus  in  what  is  styled  by 
some  "  the  Landstaal,"  or  language  spoken  by  the  frontier  Boer 
population,  there  is  a  sprinkling  of  Bushman  and  Hottentot  words, 
marking  the  time  when  they  first  came  in  contact  with  the  in- 
habitants of  the  country  ;  after  which  a  few  Kaf&r  words  were 
introduced,  and  during  the  last  fifty  or  sixty  years  a  number 
of  English  expressions  have  been  grafted  on  it.  Again,  during 
the  last  sixty  or  seventy  years  a  considerable  number  both  of 
colonial  Dutch  and  native  words  have  been  anglicized  in  the  lan- 
guage spoken  by  the  colonial  English,  such  as,  for  example — 
Spruit,  for  a  river  or  valley ;  Lager,  for  a  camp  ; 

Vlei,  for  a  pond ;  Inspan,  to  yoke  oxen ; 

Flat,  for  a  plain ;  and  many  others  from  the  Dutch. 

Kloof,  for  ravine  or  glen;  Kerie  or  Keerie,  a   club,) 

Poort,  for  a  pass  ;  Karee  or  Karree,  a  tree,/ 

Drift,  for  a  ford;  from  the  Hottentot. 

Spoor,  for  a  trail; 

The  natives,  on  the  other  hand,  have  in  a  number  of  in- 
stances availed  themselves  of  both  English  and  Dutch  words 
to  express  objects  and  ideas  with  which  they  were  not  before 

The  same  rule  governs  the  intercourse  of  the  English  with 
the  inhabitants  of  India,  AustraUa,  New  Zealand,  etc.,  native 
words  in  each  dependency  becoming  gradually  anglicized  and 
grafted  into  the  parent  language.  They  thus  become  indubit- 
able memorials  of  close  contact  with  the  various  races  inhabiting 
these  countries,  and  we  may  feel  convinced  that  what  we  see 
going  on  in  the  present  day  must  have  been  in  operation,  under 
similar  conditions,  during  all  past  time.  For  this  reason,  there- 
fore, we  cannot  imagine  that  the  Bushman  race,  had  they  come 
into  contact  with  others  speaking  languages  differing  from  their 
own  during  the  long  series  of  generations  which  must  have  been 
occupied  in  their  migration  towards  the  south,  would  have 
formed  any  exception  to  this  law,  but  that  such  contact  must 
have  left  its  impress  upon  them.  The  vanguard  of  the  great 
westerly  migration  of  the  tribes  of  Coast  Kaffirs  acquired  a 
number  of  clicks,  after  coming  in  contact  with  the  aboriginal 
Bushmen,  which  are  not  to  be  found  in  use  among  the  tribes 

10  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

that  followed  in  their  rear,  and  therefore  only  came  in  contact 
with  such  diminished  numbers  of  the  aborigines  that  their  pre- 
sence could  make  no  impression  upon  the  advancing  tide  of  the 
stronger  race. 

The  inference  therefore,  if  not  the  positive  conclusion,  to  be 
drawn  from  the  foregoing  facts  is  that  the  ancient  Bushmen 
must,  as  we  have  before  intimated,  have  gradually  worked  their 
way  through  a  really  unoccupied  country,  and  that  they  were 
the  primitive  inhabitants  of  Southern  Africa  and  the  forerunners 
of  every  other  race,  a  conclusion  which  is  upheld  by  the  most 
ancient  traditions  of  every  intruding  tribe  now  found  in  the 
southern  portion  of  the  continent. 

The  conviction  of  Mr.  Moffat  that  the  Bushmen  (included  by 
him  among  the  Hottentots)  were  the  true  aborigines  was  evi- 
dently forced  upon  his  mind  from  some  of  the  considerations 
which  have  been  advanced.  This  appears  when  he  writes :  "  It 
may  not  be  considered  chimerical  to  suppose  that  the  Hottentot 
progenitors  took  the  iead,  and  gradually  advanced  in  proportion 
as  they  were  urged  forward  by  an  increasing  population  in  their 
rear,  until  they  reached  the  ends  of  the  earth."  That  this  was 
the  case  is  a  demonstrable  fact,  which  will  be  found  enlarged  upon 
in  another  portion  of  the  present  work.  Their  history  during  the 
last  century  and  a  half  has  too  clearly  proved  that  had  the  cen- 
tral portions  of  the  continent  been  already  occupied  by  any  of 
the  stronger  races,  similar  to  those  which  have  been  for  the  last 
few  generations  opposed  to  them,  they  could  never,  with  their 
primitive  weapons,  have  broken  through  such  a  barrier  of  sav- 
agedom  as  must  thus  under  such  circumstances  have  been  placed 
in  opposition  to  their  southern  progress. 

It  seems  also  certain  that 'as  the  main  body  of  the  race  moved 
on  in  front,  detached  clans  lingered  behind  in  sequestered  and 
isolated  spots,  until  they  were  overtaken,  surrounded,  and  cut  oif 
for  ever  from  their  migrating  countrymen  by  the  advancing  tide 
of  the  stronger  races,  which  after  driving  them  for  refuge  into 
dense  jungles  and  nearly  impenetrable  forests,  or  the  rocky 
fastnesses  of  abnost  inaccessible  mountains,  rolled  on  beyond 
them,  making  their  isolation  still  more  complete  by  the  increase, 
in  succeeding  generations,  of  the  surrounding  hostile  population  ; 
and  thus  it  is  that  enterprising  travellers  penetrating  into  the 


interior  of  the  Dark  Continent  still  hear  traditions  of  communities 
of  untamable  dwarfs,  who,  even  in  the  present  day,  hide  them- 
selves in  the  mysterious  recesses  of  the  primeval  forests_j 

Such,  in  all  probability,  was  the  dwarf  race  described  by 
Schweinfurth  ;  and  such  those  of  whom  Stanley  writes  :  "  In 
the  unknown  region  west  of  Nyangwe,  a  region  which  Living- 
stone panted  to  reach  but  could  not,  and  which  Cameron  intended 
to  explore  but  did  not,  all  is  involved  in  mystery  ;  the  intense 
superstition  of  the  Africans  has  enshrouded  it  with  awesome  gloom. 
It  is  peopled  in  their  village  stories  with  terribly  vicious  dwarfs, 
striped  like  zebras,  who  deal  certain  death  with  poisoned  arrows, 
who  are  nomads,  and  live  on  elephants.  A  great  forest  stretches 
no  one  knows  how  far  north,  certainly  no  one  has  seen  the  end 
of  it." 

Du  ChaiUu  also  alludes  to  traditions  of  a  race  of  wonderful 
dwarfs  inhabiting  some  portion  of  the  country  which  he  visited  ; 
and  it  is  highly  probable,  when  the  evidences  of  Bushman 
occupation  are  better  known, — such  as  his  chippings  on  the 
South  African  rocks — than  they  are  at  present,  that  similar 
traces  of  his  migrations  will  be  found  even  still  farther  to  the 

Mr.  Moffat  considered  that  the  Bushmen  have  descended  from 
the  Hottentots,  and  gives  what  he  supposes  to  be  a  parallel  case, 
in  the  Balala,  a  tribe  to  be  noticed  in  the  sequel ;  but  so  much 
evidence  has  since  been  obtained  which  proves  this  hypothesis 
to  be  untenable,  that  we  should  only  be  led  into  error  should  we 
adopt  it  in  pursuing  our  inquiry.  The  Korana  traditions  appear 
conclusive  on  the  point  of  the  prior  existence  of  the  Bushmen 
in  the  country,  at  the  time  their  forefathers  migrated  from  tropical 
Central  Africa  to  the  western  coast,  and  thence  to  the  Cape. 

That  both  Hottentots  and  Bushmen  may  have  descended 
from  the  same  original  stock  seems  more  likely.  "  In  that  case, 
however,  such  a  length  of  time  elapsed  between  the  migration 
of  the  two  offshoots  that  the  language  had  completely  changed, 
and  when  they  again  came  in  contact  they  were  not  able  to  under- 
stand one  another.  With  regard  to  the  language  of  the  Hottentot 
race,  Mr.  Moffat  remarks  that  "genuine  Hottentots,  Koranas, 
and  Namaquas  meeting  for  the  first  time  from  their  respective 
and  distant  tribes  could  converse  with  scarcely  any  difficulty," 


while  the  Bushmen  "  speak  a  variety  of  languages  "  (?  dialects) 
"  even  when  nothing  but  a  range  of  hills  or  a  river  intervenes 
between  the  tribes,  and  none  of  these  dialects  is  understood  by 
the  Hottentots."  Again,  this  writer  considers  the  present  con- 
dition of  the  Balala  will  explain  the  difference.  It  may  explain 
the  difference  of  the  variety  of  dialects  among  the  Bushmen  them- 
selves, but  not  the  wide  gap  between  the  language  of  the  Hotten- 
tots and  that  spoken  by  the  Bushmen. 

We  have  also  another  proof  of  the  length  of  time  which  must 
necessarily  have  elapsed  between  the  two  migrations.  Not  only 
had  the  language  completely  changed,  but  the  tribes  of  the  later 
migration  had  advanced  from  the  purely  hunter  to  the  nomadic 
pastoral  stage  of  existence,  while  a  noticeable  alteration  had  taken 
place  in  their  physical  development.  They  were  no  longer  tribes 
of  diminutive  dwarfs,  but  they  had  become  a  taller  race  of  men, 
although  still  inferior  to  the  more  robust  and  manly  Kaffir.  A 
period,  however,  of  no  ordinary  duration  must  have  intervened 
to  have  effected  changes  of  so  marked  a  character. 

From  the  foregoing  one  cannot  doubt  but  that  we  are  author- 
ized in  drawing  the  following  deductions,  viz. — 

1.  That  the  Bushman  is  not  a  development  of  the  south, 
but  that  he  must  have  had  his  origin  somewhere  in  the  distant 
unknown  north. 

2.  That  his  language,  his  artistic  talents,  and  even  his  physical 
characteristics,  have  closer  affinities  to  some  of  the  northern 
races  than  to  that  of  the  negro  type. 

3.  That  he  migrated  from  the  north  to  the  south  at  a  remote 

4.  That  that  period  was  so  remote  that  the  stronger  black 
races  could  not  then  have  occupied  Central  Africa. 

5.  That  therefore  the  Bushman  was  the  true  aborigine  of 
the  country. 

We  can  advance  still  a  step  further.  The  Bushman  tribes, 
with  regard  to  their  artistic  talents,  were  divided  into  painters 
and  sculptors.  This  difference  marks  two  distinct  divisions 
of  the  Bushman  race,  and  judging  from  the  relics  which  they  have 
left  of  their  former  ownership,  they  entered  the  widespread 
territories  of  Southern  Africa  by  two  different  lines  of  migration. 
The  sculptors  moved  to  the  southward  through  the  more  central 


portions  of  the  country,  crossing  the  Zambesi  and  traversing  the 
country  by  the  Lake  Ngami,  theMariqua,  and  the  upper  Limpopo, 
thence  to  the  Malalarene  and  the  'Gij  Gariep  or  Vaal.  In  the 
valleys  of  these  two  rivers  and  in  that  of  the  Gumaap  or  Great 
Riet  river  they  appear  to  have  established  their  headquarters. 
Some  of  them  spread  to  the  westward  and  occupied  the  mountains 
of  Griqualand  West,  others  extended  to  the  east,  and  left  the 
records  of  their  occupation  upon  the  rocks  of  the  Wittebergen, 
a  branch  of  the  Maluti  range  projecting  into  the  Free  State. 
Others  again  pushed  farther  to  the  south,  and  sculptured  over 
the  rocks  and  boulders  as  far  into  the  Cape  Colony  as  the  present 
division  of  Beaufort  West,  whence  some  of  them  migrated  as  far 
as  the  Sneeuwberg. 

The  painters,  on  the  other  hand,  appear  to  have  advanced 
through  Damaraland  along  the  western  coast.  On  arriving  at 
the  great  mountain  ranges  in  the  south,  they  turned  to  the  east- 
ward, in  which  direction  they  can  be  traced  as  far  as  the  mountains 
opposite  Delagoa  Bay.  The  main  body  of  them,  however, 
settled  in  the  country  now  occupied  by  the  Divisions  of  George, 
Uitenhage,  Albany,  Beaufort,  Victoria  East,  Somerset,  Cradock, 
Graaff  Reinet,  Queenstown,  and  the  Transkeian  Territory,  thence 
to  the  Stormberg  and  the  'Nu  Gariep  or  Upper  Orange  river, 
occupying  the  whole  of  the  Colesberg  and  Aliwal  districts,  and 
crossing  the  river,  filled  every  rock  shelter  to  the  east  and  north- 
east with  their  cave  paintings. 

They  do  not  appear  to  have  penetrated  as  far  to  the  north 
as  the  Vaal  river  :  that  valley  was  already  thickly  peopled  by 
clans  of  the  other  division  of  the  family.  They  also  came  into 
contact  with  the  sculptors  of  the  north  along  the  line  of  the 
Sneeuwbergen,  where  some  of  the  clans  appear  to  have  amal- 
gamated, as  their  artists  combined  both  styles  of  art  for  the  orna- 
mentation of  their  rock  shelters.  A  small  clan  of  these  painters 
appears  to  have  penetrated  as  far  as  to  the  hiUs  to  the  north  of 
Griquatown,  where  a  few  isolated  caves  were  filled  with  paintings, 
while  chippings  or  sculptures  alone  are  found  in  the  country 
round.  This  was  probably  a  fugitive  clan,  that  had  fled  so  far 
to  the  north  whilst  their  countrjTnen  were  being  ruthlessly 
hunted  like  wild  beasts  in  the  southern  portions  of  the  country. 

Besides  these  there  were  numerous  clans  who  lived  in  the  centre 


of  the  great  plains,  thus  fiUing  up  the  intervening  spaces  with 
inhabitants,  and  who  were  neither  painters  nor  sculptors.  The 
painters  were  the  true  cave-dwellers,  and  delighted  in  ornamenting 
the  walls  of  their  rock  shelters  ;  the  sculptors  lived  in  large  com- 
munities, but  they  preferred  the  stony  hills  covered  with  project- 
ing rocks  and  boulders,  which  they  sculptured  over  with  their 
carviings.  Their  great  places  were  permanent  residences,  from 
which  they  started  on  their  hunting  expeditions  ;  their  huts  were 
small  spherical  structures,  opening  to  the  east.  The  occupants 
of  the  plains  lived  in,  fragile  portable  shelters,  constructed  of 
withes  and  small  rush  mats,  which  they  rolled  up  and  moved 
as  fancy  and  the  game  might  lead  them. 

3.  Comparison  of  other  Races  with  the  Bushmen. 

It  appears  a  remarkable  coincidence  that  we  should  find  that 
all  the  representatives  of  the  smaller  races  of  men  have  been,  as 
a  rule,  driven  into  the  extremities  of  the  various  continents  in 
which  they  are  found,  and  that  although  they  differ  considerably 
from  each  other  in  many  particulars',  there  is  still  a  kind  of  general 
resemblance  which  is  somewhat  remarkable.  A  number  of  them 
seem  to  have  inherited  the  germs  of  similar  arts,  and  in  some 
instances  even  similar  modes  of  thought.  They  evidently 
started  on  their  migrations  when  the  hunter  state  was  the  most 
advanced  stage  of  existence,  when  the  use  of  metals  had  not  been 
discovered,  when  language  was  still  in  its  infancy  and  shackled 
with  its  early  imperfections,  and  bone,  flint,  and  horn  afforded 
the  only  means  of  giving  point  to  the  weapons  which  they 
employed  in  the  chase. 

If  we  can  imagine  such  a  people  emanating  from  a  common 
centre,  it  must  have  been  at  some  immensely  remote  period, 
before  the  development  of  the  stronger  races,  who  as  they  gradu- 
ally came  upon  the  scene,  as  gradually  drove  the  smaller  and 
weaker  ones  before  them  in  various  directions,  until  the  latter 
became  imprisoned  for  a  vast  cycle  of  ages  in  the  uttermost 
comers  of  the  earth  ;  each  race  becoming,  through  a  variety  of 
degrees,  more  and  more  adapted  to  the  requirements  of  its  own 
peculiar  position,  until  they  became  so  widely  divergent  from  the 
original  type  in  language  and  physical  features,  that  all  trace  of 
connecting  links  which  once  probably  bound  them  together  have 


been  destroyed,  and  only  a  certain  general  resemblance,  such  as  we 
have  suggested,  has  escaped  the  ravages  and  changes  of  time. 

We  will  now,  for  the  sake  of  comparison,  give  a  rapid  sketch  of 
such  of  the  races  of  man  which,  although  in  the  present  day 
widely  separated  from  each  other,  still  possess  certain  affinities 
that  appear  to  be  common,  and  would,  therefore,  seem  to  indicate 
a  closer  relationship  in  a  remote  past  than  that  which  they  bear 
to  one  another  in  our  time.  In  doing  this  we  wish  to  avoid  assert- 
ing anything  dogmatically,  but  merely  desire  to  point  out,  from 
a  South  African  point  of  view,  the  direction  we  imagine  such 
inquiries  wiU  have  to  take  if  the  great  problem  of  the  true  descent 
of  the  Bushmen  of  this  country  is  to  be  correctly  solved. 

One  very  striking  feature  in  the  pure  Bushman  race  is  their 
remarkably  dwarfish  stature.  Judging  from  the  descriptions  of 
various  trustworthy  authors,  there  appear  to  be  many  seeming 
affinities  between  them  and  some  of  the  branches  of  the  Mongo- 
lian race,  the  only  marked  difference  being  in  the  hair,  the  one 
having  black,  straight,  strong,  and  thin  hair  ;  whilst  in  the  other 
the  hair,  although  black,  is  in  small  tufts  at  distances  from  each 
other,  but  when  •  sufEeted  to  grow  it  hangs  in  twisted  tassels. 
This  twisting  is  frequently  increased  by  artificial  means,  as  it 
was  looked  upon  by  some  of  the  clans  as  a  type  of  beauty. 

The  Mongolian,  Dr.  Pickering  states  in  his  Races  of  Men,  "is 
pre-eminently  a  beardless  race,  the  chin  often  remaining  perfectly 
smooth,  even  to  extreme  age."  The  same  might  be  stated  of  the 
Bushmen;  and  even  when  a  few  scattered  patches  do  appear, 
they  never  attain  more  than  the  fraction  of  an  inch  in  length, 
like  a  curly  mop. 

It  is  surprising  how  little  notice  appears  to  be  taken  of  the 
Bushman,  and  how  seldom  the  race  is  mentioned  by  many  of  the 
later  European  writers.  This  may  arise  from  two  causes  :  first, 
that  the  term  Hottentot  and  Bushman  have  frequently  been  used 
synonymously,  an  error  which  even  the  writers  of  the  earlier 
Dutch  records  seem  to  have  constantly  fallen  into,  giving  rise  to 
a  confusion  of  ideas  which  has  certainly  led  to  erroneous  impres- 
sions ;  and  in  the  second  place,  because  for  the  last  two  or  three 
generations  these  unfortunate  people  have  been  so  harried  and 
hunted  like  wild  beasts,  by  every  race  of  men  who  have  intruded 
themselves  into  their  ancient  hunting-grounds,  driving  them  into 


the  most  inaccessible  portions  of  the  country,  and  treating  them 
with  far  less  consideration  than  the  most  viciously  outrageous 
of  condemned  criminals,  that  little  opportunity  has  been  afforded 
to  visitors  from  other  lands  of  studying  them  from  any  point 
except  that  permitted  by  their  bitterest  enemies. 

With  regard  to  the  Bushmen,  however,  it  can  be  confidently 
stated  that  there  is  no  characteristic  feature  indicative  of 
a  certain  affinity  between  the  Hottentot  and  Mongolian  tribes, 
which  is  not  even  more  sti;ongly  marked  in  them.  There  appears 
no  reason  to  doubt  but  that  the  Bushmen  belong  to  a  more 
primitive,  and  therefore  purer  stock,  than  the  tribes  of  Hottentot 
origin  ;  and,  as  a-  consequence,  it  is  amongst  such  a  people  that 
we  may  expect  to  be  able  to  discover  signs  of  closer  connection  be- 
tween these  at  present  widely  geographically-separated  branches, 
by  striving  to  trace  them  back  as  near  as  possible  to  that  point 
where  the  stream  of  life  separated,  than  between  the  same  original 
stock  and  the  later  w  anderers  who  followed  on  the  trail  of  the 
hunter  race  and  occupied  the  intermediate  area.  With  regard  to 
the  Bushmen  this  would  be  rendered  more  easy  from  the  remark- 
ably isolated  existence  into  which  they  were  forced  by  their 
southern  migration,  which  thus,  for  unknown  centuries,  kept 
them  unmixed  from  the  stronger  races  that  pressed  upon  their 
rear,  until  the  former  found  themselves  hemmed  in  by  the  southern 
ocean.  This  isolation,  however,  enabled  them  to  retain  un- 
changed not  only  their  primitive  habits  and  customs  from  a 
very  remote  antiquity,  but  also  their  original  and  special  physical 
characteristics,  in  a  degree  of  purity  seldom  met  with  in  other 

If  the  prehistoric  artists  alluded  to  by  various  authorities 
on  the  A  merican  Indians  were  of  the  old  Mongolian  stock,  it 
is  certainly  a  most  remarkable  coincidence  that  this  early 
tidewave  of  human  migration  to  the  east  and  south  carried  with 
it  the  same  artistic  tastes  as  that  which  was  carried  along  with 
a  similar  wave  which  spread  itself  more  directly  to  the  south, 
and  which  went  on  developing  itself  in  productions  of  a  kindred 
nature,  until  they  ultimately  arrived  at  the  perfection  displayed 
in  some  of  the  Bushman  paintings  and  sculptures  in  South  Africa. 

We  are  not  aware  of  any  of  the  ancient  negro  race  who  ever 
excelled  in  artistic  productions  of  this  kind  ;   such  efforts  appear 


to  have  been  foreign  to  their  nature,  and  this  fact  would  seem  to 
give  us  an  additional  assiu"ance  that  we  must  look  to  some  other 
source  for  the  origin  of  the  primitive  artists  of  the  earth.  This 
idea  is  strengthened  when  we  consider  that  there  were,  as  has  been 
demonstrated,  ancient  races  possessing  not  only  many  of  the 
physical  characteristics  which  are  common  to  the  Bushmen,  but 
also  that  they  seemed  to  have  inherited  similar  art  germs,  of 
so  identical  a  description  that  they  shadow  forth  the  possibility 
of  a  common  parentage  in  some  remote  period  of  the  past. 

Surprising  as  such  coincidences  as  these  appear,  they  are  still 
more  so  when  we  learn  that  there  are  among  the  descendants 
of  other  primitive  races  which  possess,  not  a  similarity  in  artistic 
talents,  but  a  wonderful  identity  in  their  respective  modes  of 
thought,  although  for  unknown  time  the  vast  expanse  of  the 
Indian  ocean  has  most  effectually  separated  them.  This  fact 
is  clearly  evinced  by  Dr.  Bleek's  remarks  upon  Resemblances 
in  Bushman  and  Australian  Mythology.  He  says  that  African 
researches  have  given  the  most  emphatic  confirmation  to  the 
idea  that  mythological  notions,  or  the  outward  forms  of  religious 
beliefs,  are  primarily  dependent  upon  the  manner  of  speech,  a 
fact  which  was  first  pointed  out  by  Professor  Max  Miiller  in  his 
Essay  on  Comparative  Mythology,  and  which  is  now  generally 
allowed  to  be  one  of  the  most  fertile  and  efficient  for  the  purpose 
of  understanding  rightly  the  natural  history  of  religion  and 
mythology.  These  African  investigations  "  have  especially 
drawn  our  attention  to  the  fact  that  the  modes  of  thought,  and 
among  them  the  religious  ideas,  are  dependent  upon  the  forms 
of  the  language,  and  upon  the  stimulus  which  these  forms  give 
to  the  poetical  faculty,  etc."  The  sex-denoting  languages 
possess  mythologies,  whUe  the  prefix-pronominal  languages, 
where  no  distinction  is  made,  are  merely  addicted  to  ancestor- 
worship.  The  first  filled  the  heavens  with  objects  of  adoration — 
the  sun,  the  moon,  the  stars,  and  other  natural  objects  ;  whilst 
those  nations  whose  languages  are  clearly  different,  and  never 
have  been  sex-denoting  (such  as  Kaffirs,  negroes,  etc.),  are  almost 
entirely  devoid  of  the  myth-forming  faculty,  and  possess  hardly 
any  mj^hs  or  true  fables,  excepting  where,  by  contact  with  sex- 
denoting  nations,  these  have,  to  a  small  extent,  been  adopted 
from  the  latter.    The  knowledge  of  this  fact  advances  us  another 


step,  by  learning  that  the  languages  of  the  negro,  Kaffir,  etc., 
and  that  of  the  Bushman,  differ  radically  in  their  construction, 
thus  affording  us  further  proof  that  their  origin  must  have  been 
derived  from  different  sources. 

Where  myths  are  found  among  nations  whose  language  is 
at  present  non-sex-denoting,  it  would  seem  to  indicate  that  they 
had  been  derived  originally  from  more  remote  languages  of  that 
character,  and  thus  may  afford  evidence  of  the  former  state  of 
the  language. 

"  In  fact,  upon  the  evidence  of  the  mythological  notions  which 
are  found  to  exist  among  the  nations  speaking  them,  the  great 
mass  of  those  genderless  languages  which  Profes^r  Max  Miiller 
calls  Turanian  (from  which,  however,  the  Malay-Polynesian  as 
originally  prefix-pronominal  are  at  all  events  to  be  excluded) 
must  be  concluded  to  have  lost  the  sex-denoting  character,  just 
as  the  Persian  has  done  in  more  modern  times." 

"  The  mythological  conceptions  of  certain  aborigines  of  Aus- 
tralia offer  some  curious  points  of  resemblance  to  those  enter- 
tained by  the  Bushmen  of  South  Africa,  as  is  pointed  out  in  the 
following  comparisons."  In  giving  them  Dr.  Bleek  says  that 
it  is  not  the  special  coincidences  of  belief  between  the  Bushmen 
and  the  Australians,  which  he  should  conclude  to  have  been 
derived  by  them  from  a  common  source,  "  but  rather  the  spirit 
of  mythological  conception  in  both  nations,  due  probably  to 
similar  causes.  Both  these  nations  are  generally  considered 
the  lowest  of  the  low  in  many  points  of  human  civiUzation,  as, 
for  example,  in  their  very  imperfect  numerical  system,  the 
Bushmen  having  no  numerals  beyond  two  or  three,^  and  the 
Australians  generally  none  beyx)nd  three  or  four.  Yet  by  their 
mental  and  physical  characteristics  they  lay  claim  to  a  nearer 
kindred  with  ourselves  than  do  many  far  more  civilized  nations, 

1  These  simple  numerals  were  (that  is,  among  the  Central  and  Eastern 
Bushmen)  xa,  one  ;  t'oa,  two  ;  'quo,  three  ;  any  higher  numbers  were 
expressed  by  repetitions,  thus  : 

T'oa-t'oa  _  four. 

T'oa-t'oa-t'a  _  five. 

T'oa-t'oa-t'oa  =  six. 

T'oa-t'oa-t'oa-'ta  =  seven. 

T'oa-t'oa-t'oa-t'oa  =  eight. 

T'oa-t'oa-t'oa-t'oa-'ta  —  nine. 

T'oa-t'oa-t'oa-t'oa-t'oa  —  ten. 


especially  those  of  the  Kaffir  and  negro  type.  And  certainly 
the  possession  of  similar  mythological  notions,  of  which  both 
Kaffirs  and  negroes  are,  generally  speaking,  destitute,  is  of  no 
small  moment  in  gauging  their  real  affinities." 

It  is  certain,  however,  that  the  constant  repetition  of  the 
numbers  three,  five,  and  seven,  their  'quo,  t'oa-t'oa-'ta  and  t'oa- 
t'oa-t'oa-'ta  in  their  symbolic  representations  in  the  valleys  of 
the  Gumaap  and  the  Vaal  evidently  indicate  that  they  had  a 
mystic  or  sacred  meaning,  now  lost,  but  known  and  under- 
stood at  the  time  by  the  initiated. 

"  The  aborigines  of  Victoria  (especially  the  Booroung) 
believe/that  the  earth  was  in  darkness  until  an  emu's  egg  was 
prepared  and  cast  into  space,  when  the  earth  became  light. 
This  was  effected  by  one  who  belonged  to^n  earlier  race  of 
people,  who  then  inhabited  the  earth,  but  who  were  translated 
in  various  forms  to  the  heavens,  before  the  present  race  of  men 
came  into  existence_J,' 

"  The  Bushmen  believe  that  there  was  a  very  dim  light  over 
the  earth,  and  that  the  sun  (who  was  a  man)  only  shone  round 
the  place  where  he  lay  sleeping  (the  light  proceeding  from  one 
of  his  armpits)  ;  so  two  women  (of  the  old  race  who  inhabited  the 
earth  before  the  Bushmen  *)  sent  some  children  to  lift  up  the 
sleeping  sun  unawares  and  throw  him  into  the  sky,  where  he, 
becoming  round,  thenceforth  remained,  rendering  the  earth  light 
and  warm." 

"  The  Bushmen  say  also  that  the  moon  was  made  by  a  being 
who  is  both  mantis  and  man,  who,  being  inconvenienced  by  the 
darkness,  threw  up  one  of  his  shoes  into  the  sky,  and  ordered 
the  shoe  to  become  the  moon  and  to  make  hght  for  him." 

"  These  Victorian  aborigines  term  Jupiter  the  Foot  of  Day, 
while  the  Bushmen  call  it  Day's  Heart.  The  Australians  say 
that  (either  the  whole,  or  part  of)  the  Milky- Way  is  the  smoke 
of  the  fires  of  the  old  race  of  people  who  preceded  them.  The 
Bushmen  say  that  a  girl  belonging  to  the  ancient  race  made  the 
Milky  Way  by  throwing  wood-ashes  into  the  sky.^J 

"  The  Australians  say  that  the  star  Arctufus  is  the  dis- 

'  The  Bushmen  believe  in  an  ancient  race  of  people  who  preceded 
them,  some  of  whom  possessed  magic  powers,  and  some  of  whom  have 
also  been  translated  as  stars  into  the  sky. 


coverer  of  the  larvae  of  the  wood-ant,  of  which  they  are  very 
fond,  and  their  teacher  when  and  where  to  find  it.  The  Bush- 
men say  that  Canopus  is  the  rice-star,  who  comes  carrying 
'  Bushman  rice.'  ^  By  appearing  it  shows  them  when  to  seek  it." 
"The  Magellan  clouds  are,  in  this  Australian  mythology, 
believed  to  be  male  and  female  birds  called  'Native  Com- 
panions,' and  by  some  of  the  Bushmen  they  are  considered  to 
be  a  male  and  female  steenbok." 

Some  of  these  coincidences  are  very  remarkable,  especially 
that  of  the  belief  in  the  existence  of  an  earlier  race  of  men. 
Some  of  the  Bushmen,  however,  still  assert  that  remnants  of 
this  race  yet  exist  in  the  deep  and  almost  unknown  recesses  of 
the  Kalahari.     In  corroboration  of  this  latter  assertion,  an  old 
traveller,  Mr.  A.  A.  Anderson,  who  has  spent  a  number  of  years 
in  the  interior,  assured  the  writer  that  in  one  of  his  expeditions 
into  that  portion  of  the  country  he  came  upon  a  small  clan  of 
very  diminutive  and  degraded  people,  who  declared  that  their 
forefathers  had  inhabited  this  part  of  the  world  before  the  Bush- 
men  came  into  it.     At  the   time   Mr.   Anderson  encountered 
them  they  acknowledged  subjection   to  the   Bushmen  of  the 
Kalahari,  who  are  said  to  treat  them  not  only  as  degraded  vassals, 
but  as  an  inferior  grade  of  beings.     Their  habits,  as  described 
by  this  traveller,  certainly  approach  nearer  to  those  of  wild 
animals  than  to  those  of  the  most  abject  people  yet  known  in 
South   Africa.     They  build  no  huts   of   any   description,   but 
shelter  themselves  under  bushes  or  projecting  rocks,  or  the  lee- 
side  of  large  boulders,  while  their  food  is  frequently  of  the  most 
loathsome  description,  as,  with  the  exception  of  these  people, 
it  is  only  among  the  lower  animals  that  the  placenta  is  devoured 
after  giving  birth  to  their  offspring.     Further  information  with 
regard  to  this  race  would    certainly  be  most  interesting,  and 
might  possibly  supply  one  of  the  missing  links  which  are  being 
so  eagerly  sought  for  in  the  world  of  science. 

From  the  facts  advanced  in  this  chapter  we  would  seem 
justified  in  concluding  that  the  Bushman  race  belongs  to  a  type 
of  humanity  altogether  distinct  from  that  of  the  negro  or  the 
Kaffir;  that  the  races  which  display  the  closest  afl&nities  to 

1  "  Bushman-rice  "  is  what  is  commonly  called  ants'  eggs    but  which 
are  really  the  pupas  or  chrysaUdes  of  the  ants.  ' 


them  are  some  of  the  earlier  races  whose  migrations  radiated 
f^-om  the  northern  hemisphere  as  from  a  common  centre  ;  that 
at  the  time  of  their  separation  from  the  main  stock  these  races 
had  arrived  at  the  hunter  state,  and  carried  with  them,  into 
widely  separated  countries,  similar  germs  of  primitive  art,  and 
there,  by  means  of  their  kindred  artistic  talents,  they  were 
enabled  severally  to  leave  memorials  upon  the  rocks  of  the 
country,  thus  recording  for  future  ages  the  different  portions 
of  the  earth's  surface  which  they  had  respectively   occupied. 

chapter  II 


We  are  fortunately  able  to  obtain  evidence  upon  the  great  an- 
tiquity of  the  Bushman  race  in  South  Africa  from  several  inde- 
pendent sources,  viz.  the  subsequent  Hottentot  migration,  the 
geological  evidence  afforded  by  exhumed  relics,  and  that  which  is 
demonstrated  by  some  of  their  most  ancient  sculptures  and 

The  subsequent  southern  migration  of  the  Hottentot  hordes 
clearly  proves  that  such  an  enormous  period  had  intervened 
between  their  onward  movement  and  that  which  led  to  the 
original  Bushman  occupation,  that  the  Hottentot  tribes  had 
advanced  from  the  purely  hunter  state  of  their  remote  progenitors 
to  that  of  the  nomadic-pastoral ;  their  language  had  also  under- 
gone such  a  complete  transformation  that  the  new-comers  were 
no  longer  able  to  understand  the  more  primitive  and  therefore 
original  tongue  of  the  kindred  race  which  had  preceded  them ; 
while  they  had  also,  in  the  interim,  progressed  in  physical 
development,  until,  by  the  side  of  the  taller  Namaqua  and 
Koraqua,  the  aboriginal  Bushmen  appeared  a  veritable  race  of 

A  vast  cycle  of  ages  would  doubtless  be  required  to  bring  about 
radical  changes  of  this  kind.  With  this  fact  we  must  be  duly 
impressed,  if  we  consider  but  for  a  moment  the  extreme  slowness 
with  which  such  extensive  modifications  from  their  original  tj^pe 
must  necessarily  have  been  accomplished,  especially  among  races 
which  were  naturally  unprogressive. 

The  second  source  of  evidence  with  regard  to  the  antiquity 
of  the  Bushman  race  in  South  Africa  is  from  the  geological  record. 
From  the  mass  of  testimony  which  might  be  brought  forward 



under  this  head  we  shall  merely  notice  such  a  number  of  instances 
as  must  fully  establish  the  point  under  consideration.  Thus,  on 
a  farm  in  the  Bloemfontein  District  a  very  finely  shaped  stone 
armlet  was  found  embedded  in  situ,  in  digging  out  a  reservoir 
four  feet  below  the  surface  in  undisturbed  clay. 

In  excavating  the  superficial  diamondiferous  deposits  at  Du 
Toit's  Pan,  in  Griqualand  West,  numerous  Bushman  beads  made 
of  ostrich  eggshell  were  found  at  various  depths  ranging  from 
six  to  eight  feet,  and  in  several  spots  resting  on  the  bed  of 
calcareous  tufa.  These  local  accumulations  had  evidently  been 
very  gradual  in  their  formation.  Multitudes  of  minute  land  shells 
were  interspersed  throughout  them,  the  animals  which  inhabited 
them  having  evidently  perished  and  been  entombed  whilst 
traversing  the  arid  sand.  This  place  had  evidently  been  a  great 
station  for  the  Bushmen,  in  the  midst  of  the  ostrich  country, 
and  had  in  aU  probabiUty  been  a  locality  where  the  manufacture 
of  ostrich  eggshell  beads  had  been  carried  on  for  generations,  thus 
the  abundance  of  them  frequently  met  with  in  patches,  as  well 
as  their  having  been  foimd  in  various  stages  of  manufacture. 
Some  of  those  dug  out  from  the  lowest  depths  had  become  per- 
fectly fossilized,  and  adhered  to  the  tongue. 

These  mounds  at  one  time  formed  a  portion  of  the  margin  of  an 
ancient  lake,  whose  waters  had  drained  away,  the  pan  of  the 
present  day  being  its  degenerated  representative.  The  extent  of 
this  ancient  lake  is  stiU  well  defined  by  a  zone  of  sandy  marls  and 
calcareous  deposits,  and  it  was  in  some  of  the  former  and  the 
more  superficial  red  sandy  clay  that  these  relics  of  the  ancient 
Bushmen  were  found. 

Again,  a  stone  hammer  and  another  well-formed  chipped 
stone  implement  were  found  by  the  writer  in  a  bed  of  river- 
gravel  on  the  banks  of  the  Vaal,  near  Pniel,  about  fifty  feet  above 
the  present  stream,  and  which  was  evidently  laid  down  at  a  time 
when  the  level  of  the  river  was  much  higher  than  the  Vaal  of 

Near  the  mouth  of  Kleinemond,  on  the  farm  Fairfield,  in 
the  Division  of  Lower  Albany,  a  number  of  pieces  of  rude  Bush- 
man pottery,  stone  implements,  and  semifossUized  bones  were 
found  at  a  depth  of  sixteen  feet,  embedded  in  interlaminated 
and  undisturbed  beds  of  sand  and  marine  shells. 


In  1869  several  Bushman  maal-stones,  stone  implements,  and 
an  awl  made  of  ivory  were  found  at  Poplar  Grove,  in  the  Division 
of  Queenstown,  in  a  bed  of  subangular  gravel,  embedded  in  a 
clayey  matrix  fourteen  feet  below  the  surface,  and  underlying 
three  or  four  other  undisturbed  beds  of  clay  and  gravel.  As- 
sociated with  these  were  found  the  scapula  and  some  of  the  ribs 
and  grinders  of  a  wart-hog.  These  bones  had  become  so  fossilized 
that,  like  some  of  the  oldest  fragments  of  ostrich  eggshell  at  Du 
Toit's  Pan,  they  adhered  to  the  tongue. 

In  1874,  when  the  writer  was  examining  the  calcareous  zone 
at  the  western  end  of  the  Roode  Pan  basin,  about  five  or  six 
mUes  from  the  great  Kimberley  Diamond  Mine,  he  dijs  covered  in 
a  bed  of  sandy  marl  a  number  of  finely  formed  chipped  imple- 
ments, made  of  lydite.  These  implements  must  have  been 
dropped  there  at  the  time  the  marl  bed  was  in  process  of  forma- 
tion ;  portions  of  it  were  interlaminated  with  belts  of  calcareous 
tufa,  it  was  also  capped  with  a  layer  of  this  rock  of  considerable, 
although  varying,  thickness,  as  shown  below. 

_^ I.  Red   sandy   clay,    one    to   three 

feet  thick. 
2.  Bed    of    calcareous    tufa,    two 
to  four  feet  thick. 
fS^^s^^^^'^^M^-z  "'  3-  Bed  of  light  coloured  sandy  marl 

containing    stone    implements. 
4.  Interlaminated     belts    of     light 
coloured     sandy      marl     and 
calcareous  tufa. 

This  calcareous  zone,  similar  to  others  surrounding  so  many 
of  these  great  pan  basins,  and  which  evidently  mark  the  margins 
of  extensive  lakes  which  once  filled  them,  must  have  been  de- 
posited at  a  time  when  the  level  of  the  water  was  at  least  sixty 
feet  higher  than  that  of  the  present  pan,  and  when  a  magnificent 
lake  spread  itself,  for  a  considerable  number  of  miles,  over  the 
intervening  valley.  The  hunters,  therefore,  who  manufactured 
these  stone  weapons  must  have  lived  in  a  period  so  remote  that 
the  physical  features  of  the  country  were  vastly  different  from 
what  we  see  at  the  present  time.     Numerous  extensive  lakes  were 


dotted  over  it,  and,  as  is  proved  by  geological  evidence,  the  Vaal 
itself  did  not  flow  in  the  same  channel  in  which  we  now  see  it, 
as  it  has  in  two  or  three  places  cut  through  some  of  these  very- 
basins,  which  therefore  proves  that  the  makers  of  these  imple- 
ments must  have  existed  before  the  river  adopted  its  present 

This  period  represents  the  second  or  minor  lake-period  of 
South  Africa,  but  which  nevertheless  must  have  been  so  far 
removed  from  the  present  that  the  intervening  years  would  not 
have  to  be  represented  by  thousands  only,  but  tens  of  thousands, 
if  we  would  form  an  approximate  idea  of  their  probable  duration. 

The  evidence,  therefore,  here  brought  forward  proves  that 
the  Bushman  race  must  have  occupied  South  Africa,  continuously, 
for  an  enormous  period.  It  is  not  necessary  to  suppose  that  all 
their  tribes  arrived  at  the  same  time  :  it  is  more  than  probable, 
judging  from  the  migrations  of  other  races,  that  they  arrived  in 
this  portion  of  the  continent  by  degrees,  accelerated,  more  or  less, 
by  the  pressure  of  other  clans  in  their  rear,  a  process  which  may 
have  continued  for  a  number  of  ages  before  they  were  overtaken 
by  the  stronger  races. 

We  wiU  now  proceed  to  examine  the  next  series  of  evidence, 
afforded  by  the  remains  of  their  rock  sculptures  or  chippings,  and 
their  paintings.  The  latter,  being  of  a  more  perishable  nature, 
we  cannot  expect  to  find  escaping  the  ravages  of  time,  caused 
either  by  exposure  to  the  atmosphere  or  the  disintegration  of  the 
rock  itself,  where  the  paintings  have  been  executed  upon  the 
somewhat  friable  sandstones  of  the  upper  Lacustrine  or  Karoo- 
formation,  as  long  as  the  more  durable  chippings,  which  have 
generally  been  worked  into  the  surface  of  some  of  the  hardest 
igneous  rocks. - 

An  opportunity  was  offered  in  examining  some  of  the  paintings 
in  a  large  cave  in  the  Boloko  or  Vecht  Kop,  near  the  southern 
border  of  Basutoland,  of  making  an  approximate  calculation  as 
to  the  probable  age  of  the  most  ancient  artistic  productions  of 
this  kind  found  there.  The  most  recent  of  the  paintings  repre- 
sents an  attack  of  a  commando  upon  a  cdnsiderable  body  of 
Bushmen.  The  writer  was  fortunate  enough  to  obtain  the 
history  of  this  picture.  The  attack  had  been  made  upon  this 
cave  some  forty  years  previously  by  a  combined  force  of  Boers 

26  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

and  Basutu,  with  the  intention  of  driving  out  the  old  inhabitants 
of  the  place  ;  and  immediately  afterwards  this  drawing  was  made 
by  one  of  the  Bushman  artists,  evidently  with  a  view  of  com- 
memorating the  event. 

The  painting,  like  most  of  their  last  productions,  which  were 
executed  at  a  time  when  they  were  constantly  harassed  and  driven 
about  by  their  enemies,  was  rudely  done,  but  still  the  action  of  the 
figures  was  well  marked.  Several  of  the  Bushmen  are  armed  with 
guns  ;  one  or  two  are  shouting  out,  defying  the  attacking  party 
to  come  on.  The  rock  upon  which  it  is  painted  is  a  soft  friable 
sandstone,  and  a  certain  amount  of  disintegration  has  taken 
place  since  the  representation  was  finished,  amounting  in  places 
to  the  eighth  of  an  inch. 

The  most  ancient  paintings  preserved  depict  a  group  of  elands, 
beautifully  and  artistically  finished,  showing  that  the  artist  had 
both  time  and  leisure  at  his  command  to  finish  them  with  an 
amount  of  care  which  is  admirable,  thus  affording  a  striking 
illustration  of  a  state  of  rest  enjoyed  by  the  Bushmen  during  the 
halcyon  days  of  undisturbed  occupation,  compared  to  the  season 
of  turmoil  and  tribulation  which  fell  upon  them  after  the  invasion 
of  the  stronger  races.  Portions  of  the  animals  have  disappeared 
from  the  same  natural  decay,  we  have  spoken  of,  of  the  rock 
surface.  The  process  of  disintegration,  from  the  sheltered  position 
of  the  walls  of  the  cave  where  the  paintings  are  found,  defended 
as  they  are  against  rain  and  similar  atmospheric  agencies,  must 
have  been  tolerably  uniform.  Such  being  the  case,  if  we  calculate 
the  depth  of  the  erosions  and  destruction  to  have  progressed  at  the 
same  ratio  as  in  the  preceding  instance,  it  would  give  a  probable 
antiquity  of  about  four  hundred  years  to  this  last  group  of  ani- 
mals. It  is  quite  certain  that  the  same  cause  of  destruction 
would  have  entirely  obliterated  any  earlier  paintings. 

At  a  rock  shelter  on  the  banks  of  the  Imvani,  in  the  Queens- 
town  Division,  as  many  as  five  distinct  series  of  paintings  were 
found,  one  over  the  other.  The  old  Bushmen  assert  that  the 
productions  of  an  artist  were  always  respected  as  long  as  any 
recollection  of  him  was  preserved  in  his  tribe  :  during  this  period 
no  one,  however  daring,  would  attempt  to  deface  his  paintings  by 
placing  others  over  them.  But  when  his  memory  was  forgotten, 
some  aspirant  after  artistic  fame  appropriated  the  limited  rock 


surface  of  the  shelter,  adapted  for  such  a  display  of  talent,  for  his 
own  performances,  and  unceremoniously  painted  over  the  efforts 
of  those  who  had  preceded  him.  If  we  calculate  that  the  memory 
of  any  artist  would  be  preserved  among  his  people  for  at  least  three 
generations,  as  every  Bushman  tribe  prided  itself  and  boasted  of 
the  wall  decorations  of  its  chief  cave,  it  would  give  a  probable 
antiquity  of  about  five  hundred  years  to  the  oldest  found  in  the 
Imvani  rock  shelter.  Many  of  them  are  doubtless  of  a  very  much 
greater  age,  but  they  afford  no  means  by  which  their  greater 
antiquity  can  be  gauged. 

The  case,  however,  is  different  with  the  rock  chippings  or 
sculptures  on  the  banks  of  the  Gumaap  and  the  Vaal.  Strangely 
enough  Mr.  Moffat  has  ascribed  these  productions  to  the  Ba- 
choana,  and  employs  their  existence  as  an  evidence  of  the 
extended  occupation  of  his  favoured  tribe  in  early  days  !  He 
informs  us  that  they  are  called  Lokualo,  a  word  from  which  the 
one  used  to  express  writing  and  printing  is  derived.  He  further 
states,  in  describing  those  which  he  examined,  that  these  Lokualo 
are  various  figures  chipped  upon  stones  with  fiat  surfaces. 
"  These  marks,"  he  says,  "  are  made  by  striking  one  stone  on 
another  till  curved  lines,  circles,  ovals,  and  zigzag  figures  are 
impressed  upon  its  surface,  exhibiting  the  appearance  of  a  white 
stripe  of  about  an  inch  broad,  like  a  confused  coil  of  rope." 
These,  Mr.  Moffat  imagined,  were  done  by  Bachoana  herd  boys, 
and  that  as  they  were  to  be  found  to  the  vicinity  of  the  colonial 
boundaries  of  those  days,  that  is,  to  the  present  District  of 
Victoria  West,  therefore  these  Bachoana  tribes  must  have 
extended  much  farther  to  the  southward  than  their  present 

In  these  deductions  Mr.  Moffat  is  clearly  mistaken,  for  there 
can  be  no  question  but  that  these  relics  are  all  of  undoubted 
Bushman  origin.  All  those  examined  by  the  writer,  and  they 
have  been  a  multitude,  in  the  valley  of  the  Lower  Vaal  and  in 
Griqualand  West  beyond  Daniel's  Kuil  towards  Kuruman,  are 
also  unmistakably  the  work  of  Bushmen  ;  they  therefore  fall  to 
the  ground  as  an  evidence  of  early  Bachoana  occupation,  proving 
the  very  opposite  to  such  a  position.  It  is  quite  possible  that  Mr. 
Moffat  may  have  seen  some  imitations  by  the  Bachoana,  the 
same  as  attempts  at  painting  are  sometimes  found  in  Bushman 

28  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

caves,  the  handiwork  of  ambitious  Kaffirs  ;  but  in  such  cases  the 
practised  eye  can  never  be  deceived  for  a  moment.  The  inac- 
curacy of  outhne,  the  perfect  caricature  of  the  thing  represented, 
and  the  crudeness  of  the  materials  stamp  at  once  the  nationality 
of  the  artist.  As  it  is  with  the  imitation  paintings,  so  it  is  with 
the  copies  of  chippings,  the  want  of  meaning  and  design  at  once 
shows  their  spurious  origin  ;  while  the  imitations  are  always, 
without  exception,  the  most  recent  productions  of  that  nature. 

Copies  of  Bushman  chippings  have  been  obtained  as  far  north 
as  the  Mariqua  and  branches  of  the  Limpopo,  while  from  the 
evidence  of  the  earlier  Koranas  and  Griquas  the  Bachoana  had 
only  arrived  as  far  to  the  southward  as  about  Kuruman  when  the 
former  first  came  in  contact  with  them,  the  entire  intervening 
country  being  occupied  alone  by  Bushmen. 

In  examining  these  primitive  works  of  art,  we  find  that  they 
have  been  done,  similar  to  the  paintings,  at  different  periods, 
from  the  most  recent,  which  exhibit  the  whitish  coloured  outlines 
described  by  Mr.  Moffat,  to  those  ancient  ones  where  the  lines  of 
chippings  have,  from  length  of  time,  become  so  oxidized  that  they 
have  once  more  assumed  the  original  colour  of  the  exposed  rock. 
On  the  banks  of  the  Gumaap  and  the  Vaal  the  rocks  which  have 
been  utilized  for  this  kind  of  ornamentation  have  been,  almost 
universally,  the  igneous  and  highly  f elspathic  Vaal  variety,  which 
is  frequently  associated  with  beds  of  an  amygdaloidal  character. 
These  rocks  are  amongst  the  hardest  and  most  durable  in  the 
country,  possessing  such  power  of  resistance  to  the  effects  of  the 
atmosphere  that  the  most  recent  of  the  Bushman  chippings 
found  upon  them,  and  which  are  now  from  forty  to  fifty  years  old, 
look  as  fresh  as  if  they  had  been  worked  into  the  surface  of  the 
rock  but  a  few  weeks  ago.  As  it  is  with  the  paintings,  so  it  is 
with  these  rude  attempts  to  sculpture,  the  more  ancient,  as  a  rule, 
can  be  distinguished  by  the  boldness  and  correctness  of  their 
outlines,  which  clearly  evinces  that  the  labour  of  chipping  out 
such  delineations  with  merely  a  piece  of  pointed  stone  must  have 
been  one  of  considerable  time  and  patience. 

At  Blaauw  Bank,  on  the  Gumaap,  and  at  several  places  in 
the  valley  of  the  Vaal,  these  same  Vaal  rocks  are  found  perfectly 
poUshed  and  striated,  the  effect  and  indubitable  proof  of  a  remote 
glacial  period  in  the  geological  history  of  the  country  ;   and  it  is 



a  remarkable  fact  that,  although  these  spots  must  have  doubt- 
lessly passed  for  years  unheeded  by  men  calling  themselves  civi- 
lized, their  wonderful  and  unwonted  appearance  had  evidently 
produced  a  strong  effect  upon  the  Bushman  mind,  for,  struck 
with  their  unexplainable  smoothness,  he  has  covered  the  space 
with  mystic  symbols.  This  is  especially  the  case  at  Blaauw  Bank, 
where  hundreds  of  such  symbolic  designs  are  found.  They  are, 
however,  of  so  ancient  a  character  that  the  re-oxidization  of  the 
engraved  rock  is  complete. 

This  is  strikingly  noticeable  in  the  last  named  locality,  where^,  /^•■'"'^ 
hundreds  of  hieroglyphical  emblems  are  foundj  They  may  be' 
divided  into  two  distinct  series,  the  oldest  of  which  are  evidently 
of  great  age.  There  is  a  marked  difference  between  them  and 
the  paintings  :  in  the  latter  one  is  frequently  found  superimposed 
upon  the  other,  while  in  the  former  no  two  figures  are  ever  found 
overlapping  one  another,  or  even  touching.  The  figures  thus 
engraved  on  the  rock  have  evidently  been  held  sacred  by  the 
generations  which  followed  the  original  designer.  There  is  very 
little  doubt  but  that  many  of  them  conveyed  a  mystic  meaning 
to  the  initiated  ;  this  seems  confirmed  by  the  frequency  of  certain 
forms,  and  the  repetition  of  particular  numbers.  When  the  first 
series  of  figures  were  finished,  it  would  appear  as  if  no  additions 
were  for  a  long  period  made  to  them.  Then  copies,  or  reproduc- 
tions of  the  original  symbolic  forms,  were  sparingly  introduced, 
filling  up  the  intermediate  spaces,  by  a  generation  of  artists 
living  at  a  period  infinitely  more  recent  than  that  of  those  who 
had  gone  before,  as  the  lines  of  which  their  productions  are  com- 
posed are  only  semi-oxidized.  After  this  no  other  figures  were 
added,  except  a  few  insignificant  ones  at  widely  scattered  inter- 
vals, belonging  to  the  most  recent  period  of  Bushman  art,  and 
evidently  after  all  the  mystic  lore  embodied  in  the  ancient  sym- 
bols of  their  remote  ancestors  had  been  lost  to  their  race. 

Unfortunately  in  this  instance  we  have  no  sufficiently  satis- 
factory data  to  make  an  approximate  calculation  as  to  the  prob- 
able age  of  the  oldest  of  these  designs,  but  if  we  are  to  be  guided 
by  the  slight  change  in  those  which  we  know  to  be  the  most  recent, 
many  centuries  must  have  elapsed  since  the  primitive  Bushmen 
first  engraved  their  antique  symbols  upon  these  ancient  polished 
and  striated  rocks.     The  extreme  antiquity  of  some  of  these 



designs  is,  however,  clearly  evinced  by  the  fissures  which  have 
been  formed  in  the  apparently  impenetrable  rocks  sinct  the 
earliest  designs  were  chased  upon  them,  thus,  upon  the  large 
island  in  the  Vaal  opposite  Riverton,  which  is  formed  of  an  ancient 
roche  moutonne  stretching  across  the  channel  of  the  present  river, 
there  are  a  number  of  various  chipped  figures,  some  of  them  very 
boldly  executed.  One  of  the  oldest  was  that  of  an  eland,  done  on 
a  larger  scale  than  any  other  representation  of  an  animal  found ; 
but  since  its  completion  a  large  fissure  has  been  worn  through  the 
rock,  upwards  of  nine  inches  in  breadth  in  its  broadest  part  and 
about  eighteen  inches  in  depth. 

When  we  consider  the  astonishing  hardness  of  these  rocks,  and 
the  capability  which  they  evince  of  resisting  atmospheric  and 
other  influences,  and  also  that  they  are  allied  in  some  portions  of 
the  Vaal  basin  to  similar  porphyritic  rocks  to  those  employed  in 
the  construction  of  the  ancient  palace  temples  of  Egypt,  whose 
ruins  have  withstood  the  ravages  of  some  twenty-five  centuries, 
we  cannot  help  but  imagine  that  we  are  justified  in  giving  at 
least  an  equal  antiquity  to  the  great  eland  of  the  Riverton  island 
of  the  Vaal. 

Many  other  instances  might  be  brought  forward,  but  we  have 
already  produced  sufficient  evidence  from  ethnological,  geological, 
and  artistic  points  of  view  to  prove  the  position  advanced  as  the 
subject  of  this  section  of  our  inquiry,  viz.  the  great  antiquity  of 
the  Bushman  race  in  South  Africa.  We  have  already  learnt  from 
native  traditions  that  they  believed  a  still  earlier  race  preceded 
them,  and  that  up  to  within  a  short  time  ago  there  was  a  miserable 
remnant  which  professed  to  belong  to  that  race,  but  if  such  were 
the  case  it  is  quite  certain  that  they  were  of  so  degraded  a  type 
that  they  left  no  more  impression  upon  the  country  than  the  wild 
animals  which  inhabited  it ;  and  that  the  Bushmen,  although 
they  magnified  them  in  their  traditions  as  excelling  in  power 
and  wisdom,  nevertheless  in  actual  hfe  looked  down  upon  them 
as  a  race  of  inferior  beings. 

The  Bushmen  of  Southern  Africa. 
Having  arrived  at  these  conclusions,  we  will  now  treat  of  the 
Bushmen   more  particularly  as  a  South  African  race,   together 
with  such  fragments  of  their  local  history  as  have  been  rescued 


from  oblivion,  and  the  reminiscences  of  the  desperate  struggle 
they  made  for  existence  after  their  ancient  southern  domains 
were  invaded  by  the  stronger  races. 

MThe  Bushmen  of  Southern  Africa  have  been  described  by  their 
enemies,  not  only  as  being  "  the  lowest  of  the  low,"  but  as  the 
most  treacherous,  vindictive,  and  untameable  savages  on  the  face 
of  the  earth  :  a  race  void  of  aU  generous  impulses,  and  little 
removed  from  the  wild  beasts  with  which  they  associated,  one 
only  fitted  to  be  exterminated  like  noxious  vermin,  as  a  blot  upon 
nature,  upon  whom  kindness  and  forbearance  were  equally  mis- 
placed and  thrown  awayj  Such  being  the  sweeping  charges  made 
against  them,  we  will  under  the  present  head,  among  other 
things,  inquire  how  far  these  allegations  are  justified ;  and 
whether  the  doom  which  followed  was  such  as  they  merited  from 
their  own  inherent  and  unendurable  viciousness. 

These  people,  who  were  severally  known  to  the  old  colonists 
and  early  writers  as  the  Bosjesmans,  the  Boschismans,  and  Bush- 
men, appear  to  have  adopted  among  themselves  the  name  of 
'Khuai,  which  is  also  the  same  as  that  given  to  the  natural  apron 
for  which  the  women  of  pure  Bushman  and  Hottentot  races  are 
distinguished ;  and  it  was  thus  probable  that  the  appellation 
'Quae-'quae,  or  perhaps  more  properly  ' Khuai- Khuai  or  'Khuai- 
^quae — the  people  of  the  Apron,  was  derivedj 

From  the  evidence  of  'Kwaba,  alias  Toby,  a  very  old  Bushman 
of  'Kou-'kou  or  Bethulie,  the  Bushmen  of  his  tribe  were  called 
'K'ay  (?  possibly  'kwa  or  'qua,  the  men  or  the  people).  'Kue  was 
the  designation  of  a  single  Bushman.  Hottentots,  such  as  the 
Koranas  and  Griquas,  were  known  by  the  name  of  'Kuara. 

With  regard  to  the  names  by  which  the  Bushmen  are  known 
to  the  tribes  of  the  interior,  according  to  Backhouse,  some  of  the 
Bachoana  call  the  Bushmen  Ba-roa,  which  he  explains  as  "  The 
men  or  people  of  the  bow."  The  Basutu  also,  so  M.  Arbousset 
informs  us,  use  the  same  term,  Ba-roa,  the  meaning  of  which  he 
gives  as  "  the  men  of  the  Bushes,"  while  Miss  L.  E.  Lemue  writes,*^ 
"  A  strange  fact  is  that  among  all  the  tribes  of  Central  Africa  the 
Bushmen  are  called  Ba-roa,  which  means  "  of  the  South  ;  " 
Baroa  signifying  the  south.     It  is  certain,  however,  from  the  evi- 

^  Private  Notes  of  Charles  Sirr  Orpen,  from  letter  of  Miss  L.  E.  Lemue, 
daughter  of  the  French  missionary  of  that  name. 


dence  collected  from  native  sources,  that  the  Bushmen  are  styled 
Ba-wa  by  some  of  the  Basutu  clans,  and  Mur-ra  by  the  Bataung. 
Stanley  states  that  the  dwarf-race  of  the  far  interior  is  called 
Watwa  or  Batwa  ;  and  as  a  remarkable  coincidence  the  Bushmen 
of  the  south  are  called  A-ba-twa  by  the  Tambukis,  which,  they 
assured  the  writer,  was  not  derived  from  their  own  language,  but 
was  of  Bushman  origin. 

The  Bushman  chiefs  of  the  great  tribes  had  their  distinctive 
tribal  emblems,  which  seemed  to  answer  the  same  purpose  as  the 
Siboko  of  the  Bachoana  and  Basutu,  and  from  which  it  is  not 
improbable  that  the  custom  of  such  Hottentot  tribes  as  Koranas 
of  taking  the  names  of  various  animals  such  as  the  Zeekoes  (hip- 
popotami), the  Cat-people,  the  Scorpions,  the  Rats,  the  Spring- 
boks, etc.,  was  derived.  But  the  difference  between  the  artistic 
hunter  and  the  nomadic  pastoral  Hottentot  was  that  the  former 
employed  positive  emblazonment  or  representation  of  the  emblem 
which  distinguished  the  particular  branch  of  their  race,  con- 
spicuously painted  in  some  central  part  of  the  great  cave  of  the 
chief  of  the  clan.  These  tribal  paintings  were  held  sacred,  and 
it  was  only  occasionally  that  some  profane  artist  would  venture 
to  place  any  other  upon  them.  Unhappily  most  of  these,  together 
with  the  other  cave  paintings,  have  been  ruthlessly  destroyed ; 
fortunately,  up  to  a  short  time  ago  a  few  striking  illustrations  were 
preserved,  of  most  of  which  the  writer  was  able  to  secure  copies. 
Thus  he  found — 

The  Cave  of  the  Python,  near  the  Gwatchu,  on  the  banks  of 

the  Zwart-Kei ; 
The  Cave  of  the  Serpent,  (a  drawing  upwards  of  seven  feet 

long),    on   the   banks   of   the     Klip-plaats    river,   near 

Whittlesea ; 
The  Cave  of  the  Eland  (almost  Hfe-size),  in  the  Stormberg, 

near  Dordrecht ; 
The  Cave  of  the  Red  Serpent,  near  Bad   Fontein,    Orange 

River ; 
The  Cave  of  the  White  Rhinoceros  and  Serpent,  near  Wash- 
bank  Spruit ; 
The  Cave  of  the  Hippopotamus,  on  the  farm  Lichtenstein, 

Orange  River; 


The  Cave  of  the  great  Black  Serpent  and  Elephant,  in  Rock- 
wood  Glen,  Orange  River ; 

The  Cave  of  the  one-horned  Rhinoceros,  in  Eland's  Kloof, 
Orange  River ; 

The  Cave  of  the  White  Hippopotamus,  in  Knecht's  Kloof, 
Koesberg ; 

The  Cave  of  the  Ostrich,  near  Oliphant's  Been ; 

The  Cave  of  the  Puff- Adder,  near  Junction  Hotel,  Division  of 

Others  could  be  mentioned,  but  the  above  will  be  sufficient  to 
illustrate  what  has  been  asserted.  The  writer  has  been  informed 
by  several  old  Bushmen  that  all  the  great  caves,  that  is  those 
which  were  the  residences  of  the  head  chiefs,  were,  at  one  time, 
thus  distinguished ;  and  that  in  speaking  of  the  people  who  in- 
habited them,  or  all  those  who  acknowledged  the  authority  of 
the  same  ruler,  they  were  designated  according  to  the  tribal 
emblem  with  which  the  cave  itself  was  ornamented. 

Many  have  stated  that  the  Bushmen  were  entirely  without 
any  form  of  government.  This  is  altogether  an  erroneous  idea  ; 
and  was  probably  formed  from  what  the  writers  saw  of  the  broken, 
scattered,  and  half-annihilated  tribes  which  were  to  be  met  with 
along  the  exposed  frontiers,  after  their  fathers  had  been  driven 
about  and  hunted  for  a  couple  of  generations,  and  when  each 
miserable  fugitive  group  was  forced  to  look  after  its  own  individual 
safety  without  reference  to  any  other  portion  of  the  persecuted 
tribe.  The  Bushman  race  was  evidently,  at  one  time,  divided 
into  a  number  of  large  tribes  occup5nng  tolerably  well-defined 
tracts  of  country,  which  they  looked  upon  as  their  own  ancestral 
hunting-grounds  ;  and  any  intrusion  upon  these  was  sure  to  be 
resented.  These  branch-tribes  were  again  divided,  although  they 
had  but  one  chief,  who  was  looked  upon  as  paramount  over  the 
whole  territory  belonging  to  the  tribe.  The  subdivisions,  or 
minor  clans,  were  under  the  guidance  of  lesser  captains,  who, 
nevertheless,  seemed  to  possess  almost  uncontrolled  authority 
over  their  respective  kraals.  The  great  cave  represented  the 
dignity  and  glory  of  the  entire  tribe,  and  it  formed  the  grand 
centre  around  which  they  congregated  when  the  different  clans 
were  threatened  with  a  common  danger. 

As  we  proceed  with  our  investigation  we  shall  discover  that 



they  showed  a  devotion  to  their  chief  (a  feeling  which  appeared 
to  be  ahnost  entirely  wanting  among  the  purely  Hottentot 
tribes)  which  could  not  be  excelled,  as  they  invariably  gathered 
round  him  in  the  hour  of  danger,  and  fell  to  a  man  rather  than 
desert  him  in  his  extremity.  Nor  was  it  only  for  their  attach- 
ment and  loyalty  to  their  chiefs  that  they  were  distinguished,  but 
for  an  almost  passionate  fondness  for  the  rocks  and  glens  in  whose 
caves  they  and  their  fathers  had  lived  probably  for  generations. 

Many  instances  might  be  mentioned  where  a  few  wretched 
fugitives,  after  their  tribe  had  been  mercilessly  butchered,  have, 
after  hopelessly  wandering  about  for  a  time,  stealthily  returned 
to  their  ancestral  cave,  hiding  themselves  among  the  rocks  by 
day  and  stealing  out  in  the  early  morning  and  evening  to  gather  a 
few  roots  and  tubers  to  prolong  their  wretched  existence,  obtaining 
a  little  water  from  a  neighbouring  spring,  and  occasionally  a  little 
honey  from  some  wild  bees'  nest  among  the  fissures  of  their  rocky 
asylum  ;  and  have  thus  existed  for  years,  tenaciously  clinging  to 
the  spot,  until  feeble  and  tottering  with  age,  they  have  sunk  from 
sheer  exhaustion  and  passed  away  in  some  hidden  nook  near  where 
they  were  bom ;  or  too  feeble  to  defend  themselves,  they  have 
been  torn  to  pieces  by  the  ravenous  beasts  which  had  made  their 
lairs  amid  the  romantic  retreats  which  had  once  resounded  with 
the  noise  of  revelry  and  moonlight  dancings  of  their  forefathers. 

In  judging  of  their  character,  there  are  imfortunately  few 
records  left  of  them  in  their  undisturbed  state,  and  most  of  the 
intelligent  writers  who  have  treated  of  this  subject  visited  them 
after  the  fierce  and  cruel  crusade  had  commenced  against 
them,  and  which,  having  once  been  taken  in  hand,  was  not 
allowed  to  cease  until  their  extermination  was  rendered  a 

It  was  when  their  precarious  means  of  subsistence  failed  that 
the  Bushmen  of  the  frontiers  were  driven  to  the  necessity  of 
hazarding  a  toilsome  and  dangerous  expedition  of  plxmder  across 
the  colonial  boundaries.  Such  a  mode  of  life  naturally  leads  to 
cruelty.  '  Although  it  is  a  crime  in  the  eyes  of  pohtical  justice  for 
a  starving  family,  driven  by  imperious  want  to  the  necessity  of 
takmg  the  property  of  another,  still  in  the  law  of  nature  the  offence 
must  be  venial ;  but  the  Bushmen  for  their  conduct  had  not  only 
the  plea  of  nature  and  humanity,  but  that  also  of  retributionj 


They  were  driven  out  of  their  own  country,  the  vast  herds  of 
game  which  once  afforded  them  abundance  of  food  were  ruthlessly 
destroyed,  their  children  were  seized  and  carried  into  slavery  by 
the  people  upon  whom  they  subsequently  committed  their 
depredations,  and  on  whom  they  almost  naturally  took  every 
occasion  for  exercising  revenge. 

That  the  Bushmen  were  not  always  as  barbarously  ferocious 
as  they  were  afterwards  charged  with  being  is  proved  by  the  fact 
that  forty  years  previous  to  Barrow's  visit,  as  was  shown  by  the 
testimony  of  men  then  Hving,  they  frequented  the  colony  boldly 
and  openly,  begged  and  stole,  and  were  troublesome,  just  as  the 
Kaffirs  were  afterwards,  but  they  never  attempted  the  life  of  any 
one.  They  proceeded  not  to  this  extremity  until  the  Govern- 
ment unwisely  and  unjustly  suffered  the  colonists  to  exercise  an 
unlimited  power  over  the  lives  of  those  who  were  taken  prisoners. 
It  failed  at  the  same  time  to  fix  any  bounds  to  the  extent  of  the 
expeditions  made  against  them,  which  certainly  ought  not  to 
have  gone  beyond  the  limits  of  the  colony. 

When  these  circumstances  are  viewed  impartially,  it  would 
almost  appear  that  even  their  cruelty  admitted  of  some  palliation. 
Their  studied  barbarity,  however,  which  ultimately  extended 
itself  to  every  living  creature  that  pertained  to  the  farmers, 
indicated  a  very  altered  disposition  from  that  of  their  nation  at 
large.  Thus  when  they  seized  a  Hottentot  guarding  his  master's 
cattle,  not  content  with  putting  him  to  immediate  death,  they 
tortured  him  by  every  means  of  cruelty  their  invention  could 
frame,  as  drawing  out  his  bowels,  tearing  off  his  nails,  scalping, 
and  other  acts  equally  savage.  Even  the  poor  animals  they  stole 
were  treated  in  the  most  barbarous  and  unfeeling  manner, 
driven  up  the  steep  sides  of  mountains,  where  they  were  allowed 
to  remain  without  any  kind  of  food  or  water  till  they  were  either 
killed  for  use  or  dropped  for  want  of  means  of  supporting 

Had  a  humane  course  of  action  been  adopted  from  the  begin- 
ning, instead  of  ruthlessly  hounding  them  out  of  their  country,  how 
different  might  have  been  the  history  of  this  primitive  race  ;  but 
'"'the  greed  for  increasing  pasturage  was  paramount,  every  available 
fountain  was  seized  and  occupied,  and  every  right  of  the  ancient 
owners  unceremoniously  trampled  oiy    When  aU  this  is  taken 


into  consideration  it  is  not  to  be  wondered  at  that  they  should 
become  brutish  and  miserable,  that  they  should  make  their  home 
in  the  desert,  the  unfrequented  mountain  pass,  or  the  secluded 
recesses  of  a  cave  or  ravine. 

That  in  the  deep  hatred  which  was  ultimately  aroused  against 
all  those  who  were  gradually,  yet  still  most  surely,  despoiling 
them  of  their  cherished  hunting  grounds,  the  Bushmen  were  fre- 
quently hurried  into  deeds  of  violence,  at  which  humanity  shud- 
ders, cannot  be  doubted  ;  but,  as  we  have  stated,  the  rights  of 
this  ancient  hunter  race  were  entirely  ignored  by  the  intruders  of 
every  race  and  colour.  Each  appears  to  have  asked  with  Lich- 
tenstein,  "  What  right  has  the  Bushman  to  land,  of  which  he  does 
not  know  the  value  ?  "  And  then  these  stronger  races  of  men 
considered  that  all  the  blessings  of  life  were  summed  up  in  the 
possession  of  sleek  herds  of  cattle,  with  plenty  of  grass  and  water 
to  pasture  them,  never  troubling  their  heads  for  a  moment  to 
reflect  whether  it  might  not  be  possible  for  others  to  exist  who 
cared  for  none  of  these  things,  and  whose  only  glory  was  their 
wild,  but  cherished,  freedom  to  follow  over  their  boundless  hunting 
grounds  the  swarming  game  which  inhabited  them,  and  who 
prized  the  rocks  and  caves  where  their  fathers  had  dwelt  above 
all  the  waving  com  lands  in  the  universe. 

It  was,  therefore,  in  the  never-ending  war  of  races  which 
ensued,  where  all,  however  much  they  differed  from  one  another, 
were  against  the  Bushman,  that  it  merged  into  one  of  the  fiercest 
intensity,  in  which  an  irrepressible  determination  was  shown,  on 
the  one  hand,  to  maintain,  at  whatever  cost,  and  by  every  means 
their  untutored  minds  dictated  to  them,  the  lands  they  considered 
unquestionably  their  own  ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  as  the  old 
race  were  stumbling  blocks  to  the  coveted  possession,  an  equal 
determination  was  exhibited  to  exterminate,  if  possible,  the  last 
vestige  of  those  who  so  resolutely  opposed  their  unjustifiable 
usurpation.  The  struggle  ended,  as  all  such  conflicts  ever  do,  in 
the  ultimate  triumph  of  the  strongest,  while  in  its  course  httle 
forbearance  or  mercy  was  shown  on  either  side. 

Notwithstanding  the  Bushmen  have  been  charged  by  their 
enemies  with  a  total  want  of  all  kindness  of  feeling  towards  any 
other  race  than  their  own,  and  that  every  one  that  fell  into  their 
hands,  even  from  the  earliest  times,  was  put  to  death  without 


mercy,  it  is  quite  certain  that  this  was  not  the  case  when  the 
Bushmen  held  undisturbed  possession  of  their  ancient  territories. 
The  evidence  on  this  point  is  clear  and  distinct,  and  it  was  not 
until  later  times  that  they  evinced  that  merciless  and  blood- 
thirsty disposition  which  so  many  have  been  eager  to  ascribe  to 
them.  The  imanimous  testimony  of  the  old  Kaffirs,  Bachoana, 
Leghoya,  and  Basutu,  as  well  as  of  the  Bushmen  themselves, 
affirms  that  this  was  far  from  being  the  case. 

On  the  contrary,  during  the  murderous  native  wars,  when  so 
many  of  the  Bachoana  and  other  tribes  were  half  annihilated 
and  scattered,  in  many  instances  the  few  unhappy  outcasts  that 
escaped  destruction  fled  into  Bushman  territory,  where  they  not 
only  received  protection  and  an  asylum,  but  conforming  to  the 
Bushmen's  habits  and  customs,  wives  were  given  to  them  and 
their  daughters  intermarried  again  with  the  Bushmen,  and  it  was 
doubtless  such  infusions  of  foreign  blood  which  gave  a  different 
physical  character  to  some  of  the  families  of  their  leading  captains, 
in  contradistinction  to  those  of  pure  Bushman  type.  This  good 
understanding  continued  until  these  refugees,  increasing  in 
numbers,  and  some,  at  last,  bringing  the  remnants  of  their  herds 
of  cattle  with  them,  began  to  band  together  and  assume  a  sove- 
reignty over  portions  of  the  country.  Then,  as  they  grew  in 
strength,  they  turned  upon  those  who  had  first  given  shelter  to 
them  when  they  were  helpless  and  miserable  fugitives,  and  strove 
by  every  means  in  their  power  to  dislodge  the  ancient 
owners,  who  were  at  once  deemed  wild  and  untameable 
animals  when  they  attempted  to  prevent  the  invaders  from 
doing  so. 

As  soon  as  the  Bushmen  saw  these  strangers  beginning  to 
intrude  themselves  in  large  bodies  in  every  direction,  with  a 
determination  to  make  permanent  settlements,  a  spirit  of  oppo- 
sition was  aroused  within  them.  The  game,  which  was  as  pre- 
cious to  the  old  hunters  as  herds  of  tame  cattle  were  to  their 
aggressors,  was  destroyed  or  driven  away  ;  and  cattle-lifting 
almost  as  a  natural  consequence  took  the  place  of  stalking  the 
eland,  the  quagga,  or  the  elephant.  Capture  and  recapture, 
injuries  and  retaliation,  soon  grew  into  a  war  of  extermination 
against  the  weaker  and  smaller  race,  whose  unconquerable  spirit 
might  be  crushed  and  annihilated,  but  seldom  taught  to  submit 


to  the  trammels  which  the  invading  and  conquering  races  were 
desirous  of  imposing  upon  them. 

From  all  the  evidence  that  can  be  obtained,  the  Bushmen  in 
their  undisturbed  state  appear  never  to  have  been  aggressors. 
This  doubtless  arose  from  the  fact  of  their  having  been  the  pri- 
mitive inhabitants  of  the  land,  and  therefore  having  never  dis- 
placed any  other  race  of  men  from  its  still  more  ancient  posses- 
sions. The  only  rivals  they  had  to  contend  with  for  dominion 
and  supremacy  were  such  animals  as  the  mailed  rhinoceros  and 
lordly  lion.  From  the  traditions  of  some  of  their  clans  they 
appear  to  have  believed  that,  from  an  unknown  time,  they  were 
the  only  men  upon  the  earth.  Some  of  the  more  isolated  tribes 
retained  this  belief  until  a  very  recent  period,  for  in  the  early 
days  they  seldom  trespassed  beyond  the  confines  of  their  re- 
spective hunting  grounds,  and  the  same  traditionary  creed  was 
handed  down,  unaltered,  for  many  generations. 

The  gradual  intrusion  of  the  Hottentot  tribes  along  the  western 
coast,  the  pressure  of  the  Bachoana  tribes  from  the  central 
north,  the  eruption  of  the  more  warlike  Kaffirs  from  the  east- 
ward and  along  the  south-eastern  coast,  the  advent  of  the  still 
more  formidable  pale  faces  from  the  very  sea  itself,  rudely  dis- 
pelled these  long-cherished  ideas  wherever  the  original  inhab- 
itants of  the  soil  came  in  contact  with  the  invading  races. 
"  Bushman  depredations "  were  unheard  of  as  long  as  their 
ancient  hunting-grounds  were  unmolested.  Their  oldest  paint- 
ings are  chiefly  representations  of  the  excitement  of  the  chase  or 
the  joys  and  pleasures  of  their  numerous  dances. 

They  appear  never  to  have  had  great  wars  against  each  other  ; 
sudden  quarrels  among  rival  huntsmen,  ending  in  hvely  skir- 
mishes, which  owing  to  their  nimbleness  and  presence  of  mind 
caused  little  damage  to  life  or  limb,  appear  to  have  been  the 
extent  of  their  individual  or  tribal  differences.  Even  an  habi- 
tually quarrelsome  man  was  not  tolerated  amongst  them ;  he 
became  an  intolerable  nuisance,  and  his  own  friends  assisted  in 
putting  the  obnoxious  individual  on  one  side  ;  while  their  very 
enemies  acknowledge  them  to  have  been,  when  left  to  them- 
selves, a  merry,  cheerful  race. 

Their  evening  feast  being  ended,  dancing  during  the  first 
watches  of  the  night  followed  as  a  matter  of  course.     But  when 


their  ancient  hionting-grounds  were  invaded  from  various  quar- 
ters, great  changes  came  over  their  social  condition,  and  at 
length  a  determined  opposition  was  shown  by  them  against 
further  encroachments.  Finding,  however,  that  they  were  un- 
able to  repel  their  invaders,  while  their  chief  means  of  subsistence 
was  being  destroyed,  they  levied,  in  their  turn,  unconditional 
blackmail  upon  the  possessions  of  those  they  no  longer  looked 
upon  with  friendly  eyes.  Then  it  was  that  resistance,  and  cap- 
ture, and  recapture  followed.  Bushmen  fell  under  the  clubs,  the 
assagais,  or  the  bullets  of  the  pursuers  ;  and  these,  in  their  turn, 
frequently  experienced  the  fatal  effects  of  the  poisoned  darts 
that  were  discharged  at  them.  Organized  attempts  were  made 
to  dislodge  the  obnoxious  Bushmen  from  their  native  strong- 
holds ;  sometimes  these  attacks  were  repelled,  at  others  the  cave 
dwellers  were  overpowered,  and  a  considerable  portion  of  a  tribe 
would  be  destroyed. 

Driven  from  the  fastnesses  in  one  range  of  mountains,  those 
who  remained  fled  for  refuge  to  another,  mingling  with  other 
tribes  already  in  possession.  One  piece  of  country  cleared,  the 
encroachments  steadily  continued,  with  a  continually  intensifying 
animosity  on  either  side.  Again  dispossessed,  again  driven  back, 
the  marauding  parties  of  the  survivors  would  penetrate  again 
into  the  old  himting-grounds  which  had  been  so  violently  wrested 
from  them,  to  make  reprisals  upon  the  flocks  and  herds  of  those 
who  had  so  unceremoniously  monopolized  them.  These  raids 
were  pushed  for  a  considerable  distance  into  the  old  country  once 
occupied  by  them.  It  was  a  never-ending  war  of  encroachment 
on  the  one  hand,  and  retaliation  on  the  other.  This  unswerving 
determination  on  the  part  of  the  Bushmen  was  put  down  to 
their  wild  animal  propensities  and  untameableness,  and  it  was 
considered  as  a  necessary  part  of  civilization  to  look  with  leniency 
on  the  wholesale  purloining  of  territory  on  the  one  side,  yet  still 
to  paint  the  character  of  the  weaker  and  much-wronged  race  in 
the  blackest  possible  colours. 

Their  incomprehensible  attachment  to  their  original  mode  of 
life,  their  strong  love  of  the  wild  freedom  they  had  ever  possessed, 
were  considered  as  unquestionable  evidence  of  their  unimprov- 
able nature,  and  the  members  of  the  formidable  expeditions  that 
were  from  time  to  time  launched  against  them  seemed  impressed 


with  the  idea  that  the  cause  of  humanity  would  be  best  served 
by  annihilating  a  race  with  such  pecuHar  tendencies  ;  and  thus 
they  were  driven  from  stronghold  to  stronghold,  rendered  more 
and  more  desperate,  until  the  last  remnant  of  their  most  powerful 
tribes  found  a  temporary  asylum  in  the  most  inaccessible  portions 
of  the  Maluti  and  Quathlamba  mountains. 

Chapter  III 


To  a  Bushman,  his  mode  of  living,  as  long  as  he  could  obtain 
plenty  of  food,  was  in  reality  no  more  miserable  than  that  of 
other  savage  races.  He  had  no  invidious  object  of  comparison 
to  place  against  his  condition.  When  one  feasted,  they  all  par- 
took ;  and  when  one  hungered,  they  aU  equally  suffered.  They 
took  no  thought  for  the  morrow.  With  them  it  was  either  a 
feast  or  a  famine.  Their  power  of  endurance,  as  weU  as  that  of 
digestion,  was  quite  wonderful.  Yet  many  instances  of  longevity 
are  to  be  found  at  the  present  day  among  those  who  are  stUl 
living  with  the  Boers. 

Notwithstanding  their  forbidding  appearance,  they  possessed 
a  number  of  savage  virtues,  which  showed  that  they  were  not  so 
utterly  worthless  as  many  have  delighted  in  depicting  them. 
Not  the  least  noteworthy  of  these  was  their  implicit  faithfulness 
in  any  trust  imposed  upon  them.  We  have  already  noticed  their 
loyalty  to  their  chiefs, 'their  strong  attachment  to  the  place  of 
their  birth,  their  hospitahty  to  strangers,  their  unselfishness  in 
their  division  of  food,  their  self-sacrifice  and  devotion  in  their 
attempts  to  rescue  their  wives  and  children  from  a  life  of  bon- 
dage which  they  abhorred,  their  unflinching  bravery,  and  their 
love  of  freedom^ 

Having  thus  gained  some  insight  as  to  what  was  their  true 
character  in  their  originally  undisturbed  state,  and  what  they 
doubtless  would  have  remained  under  a  more  just  and  generous 
mode  of  treatment  than  that  which  was  mercilessly  meted  out 
to  them,  we  will  now  proceed  to  make  some  inquiry  into  such  of 
their  more  domestic  habits  as  may  give  us  a  better  view  of  their 
inner  life,  when,  devoid  of  fear  from  outer  enemies,  they  were 
isolated  among  the  rocks  and  plains  of  their  ancestors. 


In  commencing  this  portion  of  our  investigation,  it  may  be  as 
well  to  notice  that  from  the  evidence  of  Kwaba,  alias  Toby,  the 
language  spoken  by  that  division  which  we  may  call  the  Sculp- 
tors or  kopje-dwellers,  from  the  fact  of  their  selecting  a  hill  or 
mound  as  their  permanent  place  of  residence,  whence  they  ob- 
tained an  extensive  view  of  the  surrounding  country,  but  which 
contained  no  caves  or  rock  shelters,  in  contradistinction  to  the 
Painters,  or  true  cave-dwellers,  was  so  different  from  that  spoken 
by  the  latter,  that  it  was  not  understood  by  them.  Upon  this 
subject  he  says  :  "  I  can  speak  the  Bushman  language  well," 
that  is,  the  language  of  the  branch  of  painters,  "  but,"  he  con- 
tinues, "  I  cannot  understand  the  language  of  the  Bushmen  of 
the  Gumaap  or  Riet  river," — who  belong  to  the  tribes  of  sculp- 
tors.    "  Their  language  is  too  double." 

From  this  it  would  appear  that  this  division  of  the  Bushman 
family  has,  in  all  probabihty,  retained  the  more  primitive  form 
of  their  original  language  in  their  southward  migration,  while 
with  those  who  moved  more  to  the  westward  the  language  had 
become  so  modified  that  when  the  two  streams  again  met  in  Cen- 
tral Southern  Africa,  so  long  a  period  had  elapsed  that  they  had 
become  unintelligible  to  one  another.  This,  however,  is  a  ques- 
tion which  must  be  left  to  some  future  philologist  to  decide. 

We  have  already  noticed  the  difference  in  the  habitations  of 
the  two  main  branches  of  the  Bushmen.  Those  who  were  the 
cave-dwellers  and  painters  arrived  at  a  higher  degree  of  artistic 
talent  than  any  other  portion  of  their  race,  while  their  cave 
dwellings  afforded  more  comfortable  shelters  from  the  weather 
than  the  fragile  structures  used  by  those  tribes  living  on  the  more 
i.'bpen  kopjes.  HThe  towns,  for  so  the  stations  of  the  large  tribes 
^  might  be  termed  in  comparison  with  the  movable  dwelling-places 
■^  of  the  small  nomadic  clans  of  the  hunters  of  the  plains,  contained 
from  one  to  two  hundred  huts^  Two  excellent  examples  of 
stations  of  this  kind  are  to  be  found  between  Kimberley  and 
Klip  Drift  or  Barkly,  on  the  Vaal,  in  Griqualand  West.  The 
one  is  on  the  outlying  kopje  near  what  is  termed  the  Half -Way 
House  on  the  road  to  Pniel,  the  other  on  the  kopje  immediately 
behind  the  Mission  Station  at  Pniel  itself.  One  or  two  others  are 
to  be  found  in  the  neighbourhood,  but  these  were  evidently  the 
headquarters  of  this  particular  tribe.     At  both  places  there  are 


a  number  of  chippings,  chiefly  representations  of  animals  :  the 
head  and  neck  of  a  giraffe  at  the  Pniel  kopje  is  remarkably  fine, 
both  on  account  of  its  large  size  and  the  correctness  of  its  outline. 
It  was  evidently  the  grand  figure  of  the  tribe,  and  the  spot  might 
fitly  be  named  from  it — after  the  fashion  of  the  caves  we  have 
mentioned — "  the  Camp  of  the  Giraffe." 

The  position  of  most  of  the  huts  which  covered  the  crests  of 
both  these  hills  is  marked  by  a  semi-circle  of  stones  with  the 
opening  towards  the  east ;  while  that  which  formed  the  residence 
of  the  chief  can  also  be  distinguished  from  the  rest,  not  only 
because  it  is  larger,  but  the  rocks  also  around  it  are  very  much 
more  ornamented  than  any  in  the  immediate  neighbourhood  of 
the  others,  while  two  or  three  smaller  ones  are  placed  close 
against  it,  forming  probably  the  sleeping  apartments  of  some  of 
his  wives.  An  open  space  was  left  around  this,  and  here  it  is 
that  the  carvings  on  the  rocks  are  the  thickest.  Beyond  this  the 
huts  of  his  people  evidently  formed  an  irregular  ring  around  him  ; 
while  detached  from  the  main  body,  the  sites  of  several  smaller 
groups  of  huts  are  still  marked  on  the  flanks  of  the  kopje,  appar- 
ently so  placed  for  the  purpose  of  acting  as  out-posts,  so  that  the 
town  itself  should  not  be  exposed  to  sudden  attack  either  from 
the  multitude  of  lions  which  once  swarmed  over  the  plains,  or,  in 
later  years,  from  more  formidable  foes  who  then  invaded  the 

These  semicircles  of  stones  show  that  the  diameter  of  the 
general  huts  was  about  four  feet,  and  of  those  of  the  chiefs  nearly 
five.  Their  framework  was  formed  of  a  few  bent  withes,  and  this 
again  was  covered  with  rush  or  grass  mats.  These  were  most 
commonly  made  of  rushes  laid  longitudinally  side  by  side  and 
then  sewn  neatly  and  closely  together  with  either  a  twine  made 
of  the  back-sinews  of  an  antelope  or  a  kind  of  cord  composed  of 
rushes  bruised  and  closely  twisted  together.  The  holes  through 
which  the  twine  or  cord  was  passed  were  perforated  through  the 
body  of  the  rush  by  means  of  a  bone  awl  made  for  the  purpose. 
These  huts  were  more  in  the  shape  of  magnified  Dutch  ovens 
than  that  of  anything  else. 

The  huts  used  by  the  men  of  the  plains  differed  somewhat 
from  those  just  described.  They  were  not  strengthened  at  the 
bottom  with  the  row  of  stones  used  in  the  more  permanent 


dwellings.  They  were  taken  down  in  the  morning,  the  mats 
rolled  up,  the  sticks  tied  into  a  bundle,  and  carried  from  place 
to  place  after  the  game,  and  again  pitched  at  night  at  their  fresh 
halting  place.  Campbell  describes  these  dwellings  as  the  most 
primitive  of  any  of  the  nations  he  had  visited.  Moffat,  who  met 
some  of  the  fugitive  clans  after  so  many  of  those  on  the  frontier 
had  been  destroyed  by  the  colonists,  found  some  who  did  not 
possess  even  this  flimsy  shelter  against  the  winds  and  storms. 

Their  mode  of  sleeping  exhibited  their  primitive  stage  of  ex- 
istence, as  instead  of  stretching  themselves  out  like  most  other 
races,  they  coiled  themselves  up  into  as  small  a  space  as  possible. 
Mr.  Jan  Wessels,  who  resided  north  of  the  Orange  river  at  the 
time  the  country  was  filled  with  Bushmen,  informed  the  writer 
that  on  visiting  any  of  their  caves,  it  was  possible,  although  all 
the  inhabitants  were  absent  at  the  time  of  the  visit,  to  tell  the 
exact  number  of  men,  women,  and  children  who  lived  in  it,  as 
each  of  them  made  a  small  round  hollow  hole,  like  a  nest,  into 
which  they  individually  coiled  themselves,  each  man,  woman, 
and  child  having  his  or  her  own  allotted  form,  to  which  they  re- 
tired when  they  wished  to  sleep.  In  cold,  rainy,  or  snowy  wea- 
ther, they  would  not  make  the  least  attempt  to  get  up  or  alter 
their  position  for  a  day  or  two  together,  but  would  remain  in 
a  state  as  if  of  semi-torpor  until  an  amelioration  of  the  inclement 
weather  took  place,  which  apparently  revivified  them.  Then 
first  the  men  would  be  seen  creeping  out,  with  their  never-for- 
gotten bows  and  arrows,  and  after  a  little  time  the  women  and 
children  would  make  their  appearance.  Certain  connubial  rites, 
and  other  operations  of  nature  which  in  more  civilized  com- 
munities decency  taught  men  to  reserve  for  the  strictest  privacy, 
were  performed  openly  among  them. 

The  wife  constructed  for  herself  a  fireplace  with  three  roiuid 
stones  ;  she  also  fashioned,  varnished,  and  baked  the  few  earth- 
enware pots  she  had  to  use,  manufactured  the  frail  rush  mats, 
under  which  her  family  found  shelter  from  the  wind  and  heat  of 
the  sun  ;  she  suckled  her  infants  and  decked  them  with  care  ;  in 
fine  weather  she  was  seen  going  in  haste  to  the  fields  to  gather 
roots,  especially  a  small  round  white  bulb  called  uintje  (iris 
edulis),  which  together  with  locusts  that  she  gathered  and  dried 
in  the  summer,  the  chrysalides  of  the  ants  which  she  took  from 


the  ant-hills,  constituted  with  the  game  taken  by  her  husband 
their  only  subsistence.  The  man  generally  cooked  by  himself, 
and  the  woman  for  herself ;  but  whenever  a  pot  was  to  be  emp- 
tied, all  the  kraal  gathered  round  it  and  partook  of  it.  Thus 
they  went  from  hut  to  hut  until  there  remained  nothing  more  to 
be  consumed. 

Sometimes  the  men,  who  would  be  absent  hunting  on  the  vast 
plains  the  whole  of  the  day,  would  there  eat  to  their  hearts' 
content  of  the  game  they  had  kUled,  and  only  bring  food  to  their 
wives  when  they  had  had  their  fill.  On  such  occasions,  when 
they  returned  in  the  evening  with  empty  hands,  they  generally 
put  on  sulky  faces,  and  pretended  to  be  knocked  up  or  annoyed. 
The  cunning  wife,  however,  soon  detected  from  her  husband's 
appearance  that  he  was  not  hungry ;  besides  the  woman  was 
always  on  the  watch,  and  saw  the  smoke  rising  on  the  distant 
flats  when  the  meat  was  cooking  ;  and  so  she  received  him  very 
angrily,  pulled  and  threw  down  the  hut  in  her  rage,  and  would 
not  suffer  him  to  partake  of  the  ants  or  whatever  supper  she  had 
made.^  But  in  their  undisturbed  state  this  condition  of 
affairs  did  not  often  exist,  during  that  period  there  was  not  only 
an  abundance  of  game,  but,  as  a  rule,  an  abundance  of  food  also  - 
and  the  spoils  of  the  chase  amply  rewarded  the  fatigues  of  the 
huntsmen.  Then  it  was,  as  soon  as  supper  was  over,  the  women 
with  the  children  and  the  young  men  commenced  some  of  their 
numerous  dances,  which  were  continued  until  deep  into  the 
night,  when,  at  length  weary,  they  retired  to  their  little  hollow 
nests  lined  with  grass  or  straw,  in  which  they  coiled  themselves 
to  sleep. 

The  vanity  of  the  Bushwomen  was  just  as  great  as  that  which, 
characterizes  women  in  all  ages  and  aU  lands.  They  evinced 
with  their  ostrich  eggshell  beads  and  springbok  kaross  as  much 
desire  for  decoration  and  display  as  any  others.  Their  heads 
were  always  uncovered,  sometimes  even  shaven,  but  a  quantity 
of  hair  was  left  and  arranged  as  a  tuft  on  the  crown,  and  always 
plastered  with  ochre,  fat,  and  the  powder  of  an  aromatic  plant 
called  buchu.  This  they  carried  in  a  little  skin  bag  or  small  pot 
or  box  made  of  the  segment  of  a  horn,  slung  to  the  waist  for  ordi- 
nary use.  They  speckled  their  faces  and  breasts  with  red  and 
1  Memoir  of  Miss  L.  C.  Lemue,  from  Notes  of  Charles  Sirr  Orpen. 


yellow  paint  and  white  clay.  The  men  also  indulged  in  this 
fashion  of  painting  their  bodies,  sometimes  in  zebra-like  parallel 
lines,  sometimes  the  lines  were  drawn  diagonally  across  their 
bodies,  at  others  they  covered  themselves  with  a  series  similar  to 
chevronels,  and  again  others  employed  a  combination  of  these 
different  modes  of  ornamentation. 

Besides  painting,  the  women  adorned  their  foreheads  with  a 
narrow  band  of  thread,  not  very  closely  plaited,  but  elegantly 
covered  with  rings  made  from  ostrich  eggshell ;  and  in  addition 
to  these  fillets,  bracelets,  girdles,  and  long  fibrous  aprons,  which 
in  some  cases  hung  down  from  their  waists  to  their  feet,  were 
made  and  ornamented  with  the  same.  Their  industry  was  clearly 
illustrated  in  the  manufacture  of  these  shell  beads  and  rings, 
upon  which  an  infinite  amount  of  labour,  patience,  and  time 
must  necessarily  have  been  bestowed  in  their  production.  Nor 
did  they,  besides  these,  despise  any  other  ornament  they  could 
obtain.  They  further  adorned  themselves,  as  do  the  Orientals, 
with  a  lace  or  cord  of  threaded  ostrich  eggshell  beads,  which  passed 
through  the  nostril  and  was  tied  at  the  back  of  the  head,  thus 
forming  a  festoon  over  either  cheek.*  Above  their  ancles  and 
wrists  they  fastened  little  oblong  bells,  made  of  the  skin  of  the 
springbok  well  dried,  and  which,  by  means  of  pebbles  enclosed 
in  them,  produced  a  sound  very  agreeable  to  their  taste. 

The  men,  besides  the  custom  of  painting  their  bodies  with 
various  patterns  (a  custom  which  necessarily  fell  into  disuse  when 
their  invaders  commenced  breaking  up  their  clans  and  hunting 
them  from  mountain  to  mountain),  wore  a  small  piece  of  skin  for 
a  girdle,  a  very  scanty  springbok  cloak,  frequently  cut  and  orna- 
mented in  different  patterns,  together  with  sundry  anklets,  arm- 
and  bracelets,  and  sometimes  necklaces,  these  ornaments  seeming 
to  indicate  respective  rank. 

After  their  territories  had  been  invaded  and  much  of  their 
game  had  been  destroyed  or  driven  away,  they  were  sometimes 

1  The  Coast-Kafiir  and  other  kindred  tribes,  and  even  the  Hottentots 
themselves,  do  not  appear  to  have  ever  arrived,  before  their  contact  [with 
the  European,  at  that  stage  of  mechanical  skill  which  enabled  them  to 
manufacture  ornaments  of  this  kind  for  themselves,  in  lieu  of  which  they 
used  such  natural  productions  as  the  briUiant  coloured  red  seeds  of  the 
Kaffir-boom  and  different  kinds  of  sea-shells,  especially  such  as  the 
Nerita,  Bulla,  and  Cowrie. 







For  making  Ostrich  Egg-shell  Beads. 

Found  near  Zwart  Modder,  in  the  Kalahari, 

I  TO  6. — Shell  Beads  in  different  stages  of  manufadure,  from  ditto. 


reduced  to  such  extremities  as  to  be  obliged  to  cook  and  eat  old 
skins.  Sometimes  they  were  afraid  to  go  into  the  plains  to  hunt, 
on  account  of  their  enemies.  They  had  a  great  dread  of  being 
captured  or  shot  by  the  Koranas  or  the  Dutch,  and  there  were 
critical  times  when  nothing  would  induce  them  to  leave  their 
retreats.  The  very  sight  of  a  white  face  threw  them  into  an  agony  of 
fear.  Every  time  M.  Arbousset  managed  to  get  near  them,  they 
raised  loud  cries,  and  sought  to  flee  or  conceal  themselves. 

It  was  at  this  time,  and  under  these  circumstances,  that  this 
earnest  missionary  foimd  some  of  their  huts  constructed  of 
branches  of  trees,  and  others  of  another  kind  among  the  rocks, 
with  which  they  might  at  a  distance  be  readily  confounded.  AU 
these  consisted  of  three  sticks  stuck  in  the  ground,  and  of  two 
small  mats,  one  of  which  served  as  a  screen  behind  the  stakes, 
the  other  as  a  roof ;  and  under  these  poor  shelters  the  unfor- 
tunates reposed,  huddled  peU-mell  together.  ^Vhen  asked  why 
they  did  not  buUd  better  huts  like  the  Basutu,  they  answered 
that  such  huts  attached  them  too  much  to  one  spot,  that 
their  enemies  might  bum  them  all  alive  in  these  huts,  or  kiU  them 
in  some  way  before  they  could  get  out ;  that  they  would  not  be 
able  to  put  them  aside  during  the  day  to  prevent  them  being 

They  assured  M.  Arbousset  that,  since  their  country  had  been 
invaded,  they  slept  with  their  feet  out  of  their  kaross,  that  they 
could  more  readily  spring  up  and  escape  in  case  of  an  alarm  ; 
that  they  did  not  long  remain  in  one  place,  partly  owing  to  the 
migration  of  the  game,  and  partly  that  no  one  might  know  where 
they  were  to  be  found.  For  this  last  reason  they  went  in  very 
small  companies,  without  dogs,  and  with  the  least  noise  and 
bustle  possible.  The  Bushmen  who,  through  their  friendly 
intercourse  with  the  Leghoya,  the  first  of  the  Bachoana  tribes 
with  whom  the  aborigines  of  the  Vaal  river  came  in  contact,  had 
in  the  early  part  of  the  present  century  become  possessed  of  smaU 
herds  of  cattle,  and  were  gradually  passing  from  the  hunter  to 
the  pastoral  stage,  had  long  before  the  time  of  M.  Arbousset's 
visit  in  1836  been  reduced  to  a  state  of  destitution  ;  and  many 
of  them  had  been  wantonly  butchered  by  the  marauders  who  had 
invaded  their  country  from  different  quarters. 

By  this  time  also  an  additional  calamity  had  befallen  them. 



The  Koranas,  finding  that  they  could  exchange  them  for  guns, 

ammunition,  and  brandy  with  the  old  colonists,  commenced  kid- 
napping their  children  ;  and  a  few  years  after  the  commence- 
ment of  this  traffic,  some  of  the  wandering  Boers,  following  the 
example  of  their  fathers  along  the  Bushman  borders  of  the  Old 
Colony,  made  forays  upon  them  for  this  express  purpose,  seizing 
almost  all  their  children,  dishonouring  them  if  they  were  girls, 
and  sometimes  making  eunuchs  of  the  lads  ;  and  thus  it  was  that 
the  Bushmen  became  greatly  exasperatedj  Such  however  was 
the  attachment  of  these  Bushmen  to  their  native  rocks  and  plains 
that,  j^ung  as  these  captives  were,  many  of  them  attempted  to 
escape  as  soon  as  a  favourable  opportunity  presented  itself. 
They  have  been  known  to  travel  for  many  days  through  a  wild 
country  infested  with  beasts  of  prey,  and  yet  at  las,t  have,  after 
escaping  many  perils,  succeeded  in  discovering  the  retreat  of 
their  friends.  Many  doubtless  wandered  into  the  far  wilderness, 
and  were  never  more  heard  of. 

These  unhappy  little  wretches,  after  effecting  their  escape 
sought  the  wildest  parts  of  the  country  to  travel  through,  in  order 
more  effectually  to  avoid  detection.     When  they  neared  the  part 
of  the  country  where  they  believed  their  friends  were  staying, 
they  commenced  making  a  series  of  signals  in  the  following 
manner  :   selecting  a  spot  where  they  could  see  over  a  consider- 
able extent  of  country,  they  would  make  a  Uttle  fire  on  the  highest 
point,  and  cover  it  with  a  small  pile  of  damp  grass,  just  sufficient 
to  form  one  long  slender  column  of  smoke ;   as  this  rose  in  the 
air  the  little  wanderers  watched  intently  to  see  if  any  answering 
sign  could  be  detected.     Failing  to  see  this,  they  would  again 
proceed  onward,  and  would  again  and  again  repeat  the  experi- 
ment on  some  other  favourable  spots,  continuing  to  advance  in 
the  intervals  until  at  last  they  saw  another  slender  column  of 
smoke  rising  in  answer  to  their  own  ;  then  they  would  ^eed  on- 
ward in  the  direction  where  the  answering  signal  was  given. 
Should  the  Bushmen  prove  to  be  strangers,  to  show  that  their 
meeting  was  a  friendly  one  all  those  who  were  armed,  and  there 
were  few  who  were  not,  would  during  the  interview  lay  their  bows 
and  arrows  upon  the  ground.    Thus  the  fugitives  proceeded  until 
they  were  fortunate  enough  to  encounter  some  of  their  countiy- 
men  who  knew  their  tribe  and  the  position  of  their  country,  when 


they  obtained  the  necessary  information  which  enabled  them 
to  direct  their  footsteps,  with  greater  certainty,  in  the  direction 
of  their  home. 

A  sign  of  peace  or  a  flag  of  truce  among  the  Bushmen  of  the 
Karoo  was  displayed  by  exhibiting  a  jackal's  tail  fastened  to  the 
end  of  a  stick,  which  was  held  aloft  in  the  air  and  waved  re- 
peatedly ;  and  then,  as  they  approached  nearer,  their  bows  and 
arrows  were  laid  aside  in  the  usual  manner.^ 

Fugitive  families  were,  after  the  dispersion  of  the  tribes,  met 
with  all  over  the  country.  Campbell  in  his  travels  in  1812-13 
encountered  one  of  these,  consisting  of  a  Bushman,  his  wife,  a 
younger  brother,  two  daughters,  eleven  and  twelve  years  of  age, 
and  a  child  of  about  eighteen  months,  which  the  mother  still 
continued  to  suckle.  They  were  on  their  way  for  a  supply  of 
water.  The  man  had  a  bow  and  quiver  full  of  poisoned  arrows. 
The  mother  had  a  stroke  of  dark  blue,  like  tattooing,  from  the 
upper  part  of  her  brow  to  the  nose,  about  half  an  inch  broad,  and 
two  similar  strokes  on  her  temples.  The  man  had  several  cuts 
on  his  arms  and  smaller  ones  on  his  temples,  and  so  had  the  chil- 
dren, which  they  said  was  done  to  cure  sickness.  The  dark 
colour  of  these  cuts  was  produced  by  rubbing  ground  charcoal 
into  the  wounds  when  they  were  green.  They  had  part  of  the 
entrails  of  a  zebra  filled  with  water,  from  which  they  frequently 
drank,  and  then  filled  five  ostrich  eggshells  with  water  to  carry 
home.  The  paunch  of  the  'gnu  or  wildebeest  was  frequently 
used  as  a  water-bottle  among  the  Bushman  tribes.  The  open 
end  or  mouth  of  this  was  fastened  with  wildebeest-hair  ;  when 
they  wished  to  pour  out  the  water  this  was  loosened  sufficiently 
to  aUow  the  required  quantity  to  escape,  without  being  entirely 
unfastened.  A  tortoise  shell  was  used  as  a  drinking  cup,  or  the 
orifice  of  the  watersack  itself  was  introduced  into  the  mouth  of 
the  drinker. 

Their  most  convenient  water-bottles,  however,  were  un- 
doubtedly the  shells  of  the  ostrich  egg.  A  kind  of  neck  was  made 
to  them  with  the  black  wax  employed  by  the  bees  to  stop  the 

^  Evidence  of  David  Swanepoel,  an  old  farmer  of  considerable  intelli- 
gence, one  of  those  who  in  the  early  days  used  to  cross  the  Orange  river 
for  the  purpose  of  hunting,  when  the  entire  country  was  still  in  the  undis- 
turbed possession  of  the  Bushmei^ 



crevices  in  their  hives,  and  the  mouth  was  closed  with  a  plug. 
The  women  could  carry  a  considerable  number  of  these  at  a  time, 
in  a  rude  kind  of  net  slung  across  their  shoulders  ;   and  the  shell 
bottles,  when  filled,  were  packed  away  in  a  cool  place  ready  for 
use.     Some  of  the  Sculptor  tribes  used  to  ornament  the  surface 
of  these  shells  in  a  most  elaborate  manner,  covering  them  over 
with  etchings  of  various  animals,  and  sometimes  even  with  hunt- 
ing and  other  scenes.     The  delineations  stood  out  boldly  from 
the  white  ground,  from  the  engraved  lines  having  been  blackened 
with  charcoal  or  some  other  pigment.     Gemsboks,  giraffes,  gnus, 
zebras,  elands,  and  various  kinds  of  antelopes,  lions,  and  ser- 
pents, men  and  women,  were  in  many  instances  engraved  upon 
them   with    admirable    skill.     Unfortunately   from   the   fragile 
materials  of  the  water-bottles,  very  few  of  these  works  of  native 
talent  are  now  to  be  met  with.     Their  pots  of  earthenware  were 
also  sometimes  ornamented  with  patterns  raised  upon  the  surface 
when  the  clay  was  being  fashioned  ;  but  these  are  now  only  found 
in  detached  fragments,  as  it  appears  to  have  been  the  universal 
practice  of  their  enemies,  when  they  took  possession  of  one  of 
their  caves,  to  destroy  everything  which  could  remind  them  of 
its  former  owners. 

The  Bushmen  have  been  frequently  charged  with  gross  in- 
humanity towards  their  children.  We  have  already  seen  that 
it  was  a  virtue  among  the  Bushmen  to  love  one's  own  father,  and 
that  mothers  were  known  to  deprive  themselves  of  food  that  they 
might  give  it  to  their  children.  We  are  therefore  led  to  imagine 
that  these  instances  of  cruelty  were  the  exception  rather  than  the 
general  rule. 

The  women  seldom  had  large  families.  They  carried  their 
children  in  a  different  manner  from  that  adopted  by  the  Basutu, 
or  Kafar  race,  among  whom  they  are  bound  to  their  mother's 
backs  in  the  fold  of  a  kaross,  while  the  Bushwomen  carry  their 
little  ones  on  the  left  side,  in  a  lying  posture,  the  child's  feet  being 
towards  its  parent's  back,  and  its  head  towards  her  chest,  sup- 
ported in  the  skin  of  a  springbok.^ 

Moffat,  who  from  his  long  contact  with  other  races,  seems 

1  The  peculiar  way  of  carrying  their  children  astride  on  the  left  hip 

employed  by  many  of  the  South  African  Dutch  peasantry  has  probably 

been  derived  from  the  Bush  and  Hottentot  nurses  that  they  employed 

in  the  early  days. 


sometimes  to  write  somewhat  severely  about  Bushmen,  states 
that  these  people  "  take  no  great  care  of  their  children,  and  never 
correct  them  except  in  a  fit  of  rage,  when  they  almost  kill  them 
by  severe  usage.  In  a  quarrel  between  father  and  mother,  the 
defeated  party  wreaks  his  or  her  vengeance  on  the  child  of  the 
conqueror,  which  in  general  loses  its  life.  Tame  Hottentots 
seldom  destroy  their  children  except  in  a  fit  of  passion  ;  but  the 
Bushmen  will  kill  their  children  without  remorse  on  various 
occasions,  as  when  they  are  ill-shaped,  when  they  are  in  want  of 
food,  when  the  father  of  a  child  has  forsaken  its  mother,  or  when 
obliged  to  flee  from  the  farmers  or  others,  in  which  case  they  will 
strangle  them,  smother  them,  cast  them  away  in  the  desert  or 
bury  them  alive  rather  than  they  should  fall  into  the  hands  of 
their  hated  enemies.  There  are  instances  of  parents  throwing 
their  tender  offspring  to  the  hungry  lion,  who  stood  roaring  be- 
fore their  cavern,  refusing  to  depart  till  some  peace-offering  was 
made  to  him.  In  general  the  children  cease  to  be  the  objects  of 
a  mother's  care  as  soon  as  they  are  able  to  crawl  about  in  the 

Terrible  as  this  list  of  charges  appears  to  be,  and  to  which 
another  has  been  added,  viz.  that  of  bur5dng  the  living  infant 
with  the  body  of  its  mother,  who  may  have  died  whilst  it  was  still 
in  its  infancy,  from  the  hopelessness  of  attempting  to  rear  it  upon 
their  primitive  fare  without  the  aid  of  maternal  care,  they  were 
evidently  aggravated  by  the  cruelty  and  wrong  which  was  heaped 
upon  them  by  those  who  looked  upon  themselves  as  members  of 
a  superior  race,  who  so  relentlessly  seized  the  last  acre  of  their 
territory  and  destroyed  their  only  means  of  subsistence,  until  all 
the  horrors  of  famine  dogged  the  steps  of  this  ill-fated  race,  and 
many  perished  from  hunger.  Still  in  their  direst  extremity  no 
instance  has  been  recorded  that  the  Bushmen  resorted  to  canni- 
balism to  prolong  their  lives,  in  a  similar  manner  to  the  Bacho- 
ana,  Basutu,  and  some  of  the  Kaffir  tribes,  who  threw  away  their 
children  by  scores  in  their  flight  from  their  enemies,  and  beyond 
this,  as  soon  as  they  had  found  an  asylum  among  the  mountains, 
had  recourse  to  the  horrid  practice  of  feeding  upon  human 
flesh,  devouring  not  only  their  children  but  their  wives  also,  as 
weU  as  every  one  else  who  had  the  misfortune  to  fall  into  their 

52  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

In  addition  to  what  has  already  been  said  with  regard  to  their 
ornaments,  it  may  be  added  that  the  men  were  the  great  manu- 
facturers of  beads.  Their  most  valued  ornament  was  that  which 
passing  through  the  nostril  was  looped  up  at  the  back  of  the  head. 
As  a  rule  in  the  earher  days  they  did  not  pierce  the  ears,  and  it 
was  only  after  they  obtained  small  copper  rings  from  other  tribes 
that  the  men  did  so. 

They  calculated  time  by  wet  and  dry  seasons  and  by  moons, 
and  the  period  of  the  day  by  the  course  of  the  sun.  After  a 
time,  as  they  became  accustomed  to  the  use  of  horses,  they  be- 
came expert  and  fearless  horsemen.  This  was  shown  in  a  striking 
manner  in  their  mode  of  hunting  the  quagga,  being  light-weights 
they  would  dash  into  a  herd  of  quaggas,  and  when  in  full  career 
amid  the  maddened  throng  single  out  such  victims  as  they  marked 
for  death. 

Much  has  been  said  by  many  writers  about  the  evil  effects 
brought  upon  the  native  races  since  their  contact  with  white 
men,  by  the  introduction  of  tobacco  and  ardent  spirits  ;  but, 
strange  as^.  it  may  appear,  aU  the  tribes  now  found  in  South  Africa 
were  smoking  and  drinking  races  ages  before  they  knew  of  the 
existence  of  Europeans.  The  Bushmen  were  almost  passionately 
fond  of  smokingj  Their  pipes  were  made  either  of  wood,  reed, 
stone,  or  a  bone  of  an  antelope.  They  were  generally  made  in 
the  shape  of  a  tube  rather  wider  at  the  one  end  than  the  other. 
Joints  of  the  mountain  bamboo  were  also  used,  as  weU  as  bowls 
of  baked  clay.  Some  of  them  were  of  rather  elaborate  construc- 
tion, and  answered  the  purpose  of  a  rude  or  rather  a  primitive 
hookah  ;  they  were  made  of  a  large  horn  of  an  eland,  a  hole 
was  made  in  this  about  one-third  from  the  pointed  end,  into  which 
was  inserted  a  tube  about  nine  inches  in  length,  on  the  top  of 
which  was  fitted  an  elongated  clay  bowl,  from  six  to  eight  inches 
in  length,  either  made  of  baked  clay  or  cut  out  of  a  soft  stone. 
One  of  the  latter,  which  the  writer  saw  in  the  hands  of  a  Basutu 
who  had  obtained  it  from  an  old  Bushman  cave,  was  very  beau- 
tifI^ly  and  elaborately  carved  with  a  pattern  in  relief. 

When  these  pipes  were  used,  a  certain  quantity  of  water  was 
put  mto  the  horn,  the  mouth  was  applied  to  the  large  orifice  of 
the  horn,  and  the  smoke,  after  being  drawn  through  the  water, 
was  mhaled  quickly  three  or  four  times  into  the  lungs,  from  which 
























^ — 














it  was  again  thrown  off  in  a  violent  fit  of  coughing,  the  tears  at 
the  same  time  rolhng  down  from  the  eyes  ;  this  was  considered 
the  height  of  ecstasy  to  the  smoker.  This  process  continued  for 
a  Httle  time,  when  the  fumes  of  the  dacha  produced  a  kind  of 
intoxication  or  dehrium,  and  the  devotee  commenced  to  recite 
or  sing  with  great  rapidity  and  vehemence  the  praises  of  himself 
or  his  chief  during  the  intervals  of  smoking  and  coughingj  The 
Zulus  and  some  of  the  other  tribes  use  a  similar  hookah,  substi- 
tuting, however,  the  horn  of  an  ox  or  a  calabash  for  the  more 
primitive  eland's  horn  used  by  the  Bushmen. 

As  it  is  evident  that  the  hunters  were  addicted  to  smoking, 
and  used  these  pipes  generations  before  they  came  in  contact 
with  the  stronger  races,  it  becomes  a  question  whether  the  latter 
did  not  copy  the  idea  from  the  older  inhabitants.  "The  plant 
used  for  smoking  was  a  species  of  wild  hemp,  called  dacha,  which 
was  generally  carried  in  a  small  skin-bag.  Pieces  of  a  narcotic 
root  were  also  strung  like  a  necklace  and  worn  round  the  neck  ; 
these  were  lit  at  the  fire  and  brought  to  the  nose,  so  that  they 
snuffed  the  smoke  into  their  nostrils. 

The  Kanna-bosch  was  also  dried  and  powdered,  and  used  both 
for  chewing  and  smoking.  When  mixed  with  dacha  it  was  very 
intoxicating.  1 

The  great  happiness  of  the  Bushman  was  however  in  his  honey 
harvest,  when  the  combs  of  the  wild  bees'  nests  were  dropping 
with  honey.  It  was  then  that  he  brewed  his  primitive  mead,  with 
which  a  certain  root  was  mixed  which  rendered  the  beverage 
more  intoxicating.  This  root  however  was  kept  a  profound 
secret,  except  to  a  few  chosen  members  of  the  ruling  family.  It 
was  at  such  seasons  that  he  could  pour  out  the  libations  in  which 
he  deUghted,  and  it  was  then,  before  the  intrusion  of  his  enemies, 
that  he  could  eat,  drink,  and  be  merry. 

But  when  his  enemies  came  upon  him,  all  this  was  changed 
in  the  evil  days  which  followed  ;  and  because  he  was  the  pos- 
sessor of  the  land,  he  was  accused  of  every  crime,  and  as  every 
opportunity  was  sought  by  the  usurpers  to  rid  themselves  of  his 
inconvenient  presence,  few  of  his  race  escaped  a  tragical  end. 

Having  thus  made  some  inquiry  into  the  character  and 
habits  of  the  Bushmen  of  South  Africa,  we  shall  now  take  into 
consideration  their  means  of  subsistence.     There  seems  very  little 

54       .  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

reason  to  doubt  that  before  mankind  arrived  at  the  higher  grade 
of  a  hunter  race,  before  they  were  able  to  construct  weapons 
sufficiently  effective  to  secure  a  supply  of  animal  food  for  them- 
selves, the  primitive  savage  must  have  been  compelled  to  live 
upon  such  food  as  he  could  procure  with  his  hands  alone,  with  the 
assistance  of  such  improvised  missiles  as  whatever  sticks  or  stones 
chance  threw  into  his  way.  In  such  a  state  he  must  have  existed 
for  an  immense  number  of  ages  before  such  an  advance  was  made 
as  to  arrive  at  the  perfection  of  a  sling  or  a  bow,  during  which 
period  he  must  have  subsisted  upon  what  in  South  Africa  has 
been  termed  veld  host,  and  which  consists  of  such  edible  roots, 
bulbs,  and  tubers,  such  plants  or  wild  fruits,  insects,  and  small 
animals,  birds,  or  reptiles,  as  can  be  secured  without  the  aid  of 
any  artificial  weapon,  beyond  those  afforded  by  Nature  herself. 
Such  then  was  the  condition  of  life  from  which  the  remote  an- 
cestors of  the  Bushmen  emerged  when  they  entered  into  the  rank 
of  true  huntsmen  armed  with,  what  to  them  must  have  been  a 
wonderful  invention,  a  bow  and  arrow.  But  in  becoming 
hunters  (a  change  which  must  have  come  over  their  race  by  slow 
degrees)  they  still  r-etained  their  original  mode  of  living,  and  the 
veld-kost  remained,  especially  in  times  of  scarcity,  one  of  their 
mainstays  to  support  existence. 

This  kind  of  food  may,  as  we  have  seen,  be  divided  into  two 
kinds,  vegetable  and  animal.  We  wiU  therefore  enumerate,  in 
the  first  place,  such  productions  of  the  former  class '  as  are  known 
to  have  been  utiHzed  by  them  as  articles  of  food,  after  which  we 
shall  notice  those  which  they  obtained  from  the  animal  kingdom. 

Hunger,  writes  Moffat,  compelled  them  to  feed  upon  every- 
thing edible.  Ixias,  wild  garhc,  mesembryanthemums,  the  core 
of  aloes,  the  gum  of  acacias,  and  several  other  plants  and  berries, 
some  of  which  are  extremely  unwholesome,  constituted  their 
fruits  of  the  field  ;  while  almost  every  kind  of  Hving  creature  was 

1  The  writer  had  hoped,  during  the  time  he  was  engaged  upon  the 
geological  survey  of  the  Orange  Free  State,  to  have  obtained  a  correct 
and  exhaustive  hst  of  such  things  as  had  been  used  by  the  early  Free  State 
Bushmen,  but  although  he  made  strenuous  efforts  to  do  so  he  failed— 
as  owing  to  some  unaccountable  reason  the  Boers  who  had  old  Bushmen 
living  on  their  farms  used  every  means  of  persuasion  to  prevent  them 
accompanying  him,  and  the  Bushmen  across  the  border  declared  they 
dared  not  cross  it  on  account  of  their  fear  of  the  Boers. 


eagerly  devoured,  lizards,  locusts,  and  grasshoppers,  the  poison- 
ous as  well  as  innoxious  serpents  not  excepted,  the  head  of  the 
former  being  carefully  cut  off,  and  then  all  roasted  and  eaten 

The  Bushmen  of  the  more  wooded  portions  of  the  sea-coast 
were  able  to  obtain  a  number  of  additions  to  their  vegetable 
supplies,  which  their  brethren  of  the  interior  could  not  procure. 
The  bulbs  of  many  Ixias  and  other  plants  of  the  same  tribe  con- 
stituted with  ants  and  locusts  the  chief  food  of  the  Bushmen  and 
Koranas,  when  they  could  not  procure  game  or  milk.  The  in- 
side also  of  the  enormous  roots  of  the  Testudinaria  elefhantipes, 
or  elephant's  foot,  and  the  soft  pithy  interior  of  the  stems  of  the 
Zamid,  the  latter  being  known  to  the  colonists  as  Hottentot- 
bread,  were  extracted,  reduced  to  a  pulp,  and  after  being  baked 
in  some  primitive  fashion,  served  the  purpose  of  a  kind  of  coarse 
bread  or  cake.  The  flowering  tops  of  the  Aponogeton  distachys, 
a  pretty  white-flowered  floating  plant  frequent  in  pools  in  many 
parts  of  the  colony,  and  sometimes  used  even  by  the  settlers  as 
a  pickle,  and  asparagus,  were  cooked  by  them.^ 

The  young  shoots  of  several  shrubs  were  also  used  as  articles 
of  food.  One  of  these  was  said  to  possess  special  nourishing  pro- 
perties, viz.  the  Methyscophyllum  glaucum  (Mac-Owan),  growing 
on  the  banks  and  in  the  ravines  of  the  Kei.  These  shoots  when 
chewed  have  a  slightly  bitter,  yet  pleasant  flavour,  combined 
with  a  strong  sweet  taste  of  licorice.  It  is  said  to  contain  such 
life-sustaining  powers  that  during  its  season  the  Bushmen  were 
not  only  able  to  subsist  for  a  considerable  time  upon  its  nourish- 
ment alone,  but,  as  they  termed  it,  they  became  "  strong  and 
fat  "  upon  the  invigorating  diet. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  North,  again,  were  able  to  procure  sup- 
plies from  the  vegetable  kingdom  which  were  denied  to  those 

'  "  The  TJyntje,  called  Monakaladi  in  Sesutu,  is  one  of  their  principal 
means  of  subsistence  ;  it  is  abundant  in  the  Free  State,  the  Interior, 
and  in  Basutoland,  and  in  fact  this  little  bulb  is  found  in  the  whole  of 
South  Africa.  They  eat  it  any  way,  either  raw,  roasted  under  the  ashes, 
or  ground,  or  rather  it  is  crushed  on  a  stone  ;  when  crushed  it  is  dried, 
in  which  state  it  will  keep  a  long  time."  "  The  Sekeng-keng  in  Sesutu  is 
a  fat  plant  that  grows  on  the  hills  and  in  very  dry  places,  they  also  eat 
it  raw.  The  black  tribes  use  this  plant  also  to  improve  their  snuff,  by 
mixing  a  little  of  its  ashes  with  the  snuff." — Notes  by  C.  S.  Orpen, 
Memoir  on  Bushmen,  by  Miss  L.  E.  Lemue. 

56  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

living  on  the  great  central  plains.  To  the  travellers  Chapman 
and  Baines  we  are  indebted  for  whatever  description  of  them  we 
possess.  The  first  noticed  is  a  tree  with  heart-shaped  leaves 
called  Toa  by  the  Bushmen,  Onganga  by  the  Ovambo,  and 
Mafura  by  the  Bachoana.  Its  wood  is  used  principally  by  the 
natives  for  making  wooden  vessels,  troughs,  etc.,  and  combines 
softness  with  closeness  of  grain  and  durability.  All  the  natives 
make  a  strong  intoxicating  drink  out  of  its  fruit,  which  is  very 
like  a  lime  in  appearance,  of  a  pleasant  acid  taste,  thick  rind  like 
the  lime,  and  with  a  large  nut  inside.  The  elephants  are  very 
fond  of  it.  The  trunk  of  the  tree  is  generally  several  feet  thick 
and  straight  for  about  twenty  or  thirty  feet,  when  it  branches  out 
into  a  beautiful  crown. 

The  Baobab,  Adansonia  digitata,  is  another  tree  connected 
with  the  Bushmen  of  the  interior.  Its  Bushman  name  is  'Bo,  it 
is  called  Moana  by  the  Bachoana  and  Makololo  tribes,  and 
Boana  or  Boyana  by  those  of  the  Makalaka  and  Batonga.  Its 
fruit  hangs  attached  to  a  strong  stem,  and  has  a  woody  gourd-like 
capsule,  sometimes  from  ten  to  twelve,  but  generally  about  six 
inches  in  length,  and  from  three  to  four  thick.  In  this  capsule 
numerous  kidney-shaped  seeds  are  imbedded  between  fibrous 
divisions  in  a  white  pulpy  acid  substance,  somewhat  resembling 
cream  of  tartar  in  taste.  The  Bushmen  convert  the  fibrous  bark 
into  a  kind  of  matting,  which  is  sometimes  used  in  lieu  of  a  blan- 
ket or  a  kaross.  They  look  as  if  made  of  a  material  like  coir. 
Bags,  ropes,  etc.,  are  also  made  of  it,  but  the  wood,  being  soft 
and  spongy,  is  useless,  excepting  as  tinder  when  in  a  state  of 

In  the  decayed  hollows  of  the  uppermost  branches  bees  build 
their  nests  in  fancied  security  from  the  ravages  of  the  Bushmen, 
who  nevertheless  scale  its  castle-like  walls  by  means  of  two  rows 
of  pegs  driven  deep  into  the  bark  to  serve  as  a  ladder.  ^  From  the 
pulp  of  the  fruit  a  very  pleasant  and  wholesome  drink  may  be 
made  with  boiling  water,  in  cases  of  fever,  especially  with  the 
addition  of  a  Httle  honey  or  sugar.     The  Bushmen  made  a  kind 

iThe  writer  has  seen  places  where  the  Bushmen,  by  a  similar  method, 
have  climbed  the  face  of  a  dizzy  precipice  where  even  a  baboon  could  not 
have  obtained  a  footing,  to  secure  the  much  coveted  honey  of  a  bees'  nest. 
The  pegs  were  still  in  the  face  of  the  precipicej 


of  porridge  by  boiling  it,  which  was  however  very  acid.  The 
fruit  ripens  when  the  leaves  have  fallen,  generally  in  March  and 
April.  The  difficulty  of  throwing  them  down  with  sticks  and 
stones  ensures  a  pretty  constant  supply  throughout  the  winter 
season.  Chapman  found  in  some  of  these  trees  large  excava- 
tions made  by  the  Bushmen,  in  which  ten  or  twelve  men  could 
sleep,  with  a  fire  in  their  midst.  In  others  large  caverns  were 
discovered,  the  resort  of  numerous  owls  and  bats. 

Another  fruit  of  great  value  to  the  Bushmen  of  this  part  of 
Africa  was  a  species  of  Anona,  which  these  people  called  Bododo. 
It  was  found  by  Chapman,  in  1854,  in  the  Kalahari,  near  the 
Chobe  It  is  a  perennial,  thriving  in  moist  sandy  places,  such 
as  old  river-beds  ^  and  hollows.  It  is  from  fifteen  to  eighteen 
inches  high,  and  grows  in  beds  and  clusters.  The  leaves  are 
oblong,  alternate,  and  one  inch  apart,  their  upper  sides  smooth 
and  glossy,  and  their  lower  strongly  reticulated.  The  fruit  is 
divided  into  sections,  each  of  which  encloses  a  brown  seed,  in 
shape  like  that  of  the  castor-oil  plant,  but  larger.  The  fruit 
hangs  downward  by  a  short  stem,  under  the  leaves.  It  emits  a 
very  sweet  odour  when  ripe,  by  which  it  may  be  easily  traced  in 
the  field.  Mr.  Chapman  states  that  it  was  the  most  luscious 
fruit  he  ever  tasted,  and  that  when  ripe  it  is  of  a  pine-apple 
colour.  In  its  green  state  it  is  used  as  a  vegetable.  In  favour- 
able seasons  the  Bushmen  gathered  large  quantities,  and  became 
fat  upon  it,  but  it  is  almost  too  luscious  for  a  white  palate.  Some 
seasons,  however,  it  does  not  bear  at  all.  The  Bushmen  of  the 
Kalahari  frequently  obtained  for  two  or  three  months  together 
their  water  supply  from  the  wild  water-melon  (Cucumis  caffer) 
found  so  plentifully  in  the  desert  at  certain  seasons.  Making  a 
hole  in  one  side  of  the  melon,  they  pound  up  its  contents,  the 
rind  forming  a  natural  mortar,  and  then  drink  the  water  thus 

The  Bushmen  of  the  'Gariep,  or  Great  river,  make  use  of  a 
species  of  Stipelia,  which  they  call  'Guaba.  The  writer  found 
this  growing  on  the  rocky  ridges  of  the  great  southern  bend  of 
this  river.  It  is  eaten  both  by  the  Bushmen  and  the  Dutch 
hunters  to  assuage  their  thirst.  It  has  a  sweetish  taste,  somewhat 
1  The  old  dry  river  beds  found  in  the  Kalahari  region  are  called  'Dums 
by  the  Bushmen,  Omaramba  by  the  Damaras,  and  Malopo  by  the  Bacho- 

58  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

approaching  licorice,  mingled  with  a  permanent  bitter  which 
clings  to  the  palate  for  a  long  time  after  it  has  been  eaten.  The 
Bushmen  assert  that  it  acts  as  a  tonic,  both  strengthening  them 
and  increasing  their  powers  of  endurance. 

Besides  these  things, 'some  of  the  Bushman  tribes  collected 
considerable  quantities  of  grass-seeds,  which  were  pounded, 
boiled,  and  eaten  like  grain.  It  would  appear  that  the  practice 
of  collecting  these  seeds  for  winter  store  was  almost  universal 
before  the  peace  of  the  country  was  destroyed  by  the  irruption  of 
the  stronger  races  into  itj  Several  of  their  mortars,  hollowed 
out  of  the  solid  rock,  and  which  are  worked  out  in  perfect  shape 
and  smoothed  and  finished  inside  with  a  care  which  is  surprising 
when  we  know  that  the  only  chisel  at  their  disposal  was  a  chipped 
and  sharpened  piece  of  lydite,  are  still  found  near  several  of  the 
old  caves  in  the  Free  State,  and  which  were  used  in  the  prepara- 
tion of  this  kind  of  food.  It  was  doubtless  the  use  of  grass-seeds 
as  an  article  of  food  which  induced  some  of  the  earlier  races  of 
men  to  attempt  its  growth  to  increase  the  quantity  of  their  winter 
food,  a  practice  which  formed  the  germ  whence  by  slow  degrees 
and  step  by  step  the  knowledge  of  cultivating  the  soil  was  gained, 
and  from  which  the  science  of  agriculture  ultimately  sprangj 

The  most  abundant  supplies  of  insect  food  were  derived  from. 
the  innumerable  ant-hills  found  in  the  country,  and  in  the  early 
days  the  almost  periodical  visits  of  vast  swarms  of  locusts.  The 
arrival  of  the  latter  was  hailed  by  the  Bushmen  as  a  glorious  time 
of  harvest,  as  they  were  esteemed  excellent  and  nourishing  food. 
Immense  numbers  of  them  were  caught,  deprived  of  their  legs 
and  wings,  dried  in  the  fire,  and  then  either  ground  with  a  maal- 
klip,  that  is  a  flat  stone,  or  one  which  has  been  slightly  hollowed 
in  the  centre,  upon  which  the  dried  locusts  were  reduced  to 
powder  by  means  of  a  smaller  round  one  worked  with  both  hands, 
or  pounded  in  one  of  the  mortars  which  have  been  described  as 
hollowed  out  of  the  solid  rock  and  used  in  the  preparation  of 

The  finest  specimen  of  one  of  these  mortars  which  the  writer 
met  with,  he  discovered  hollowed  out  of  a  large  boulder  in  front 
of  a  cave  in  the  Koesberg.  It  was  six  inches  in  diameter  and 
eight  in  depth,  of  excellent  shape,  and  perfectly  smooth  inside. 
The  labour  required  to  have  made  this  with  the  rude  stone  im- 


plements  they  possessed  must  have  been  immense.  Unfortun- 
ately the  boulder  was  too  large  to  be  removed,  and  doubtless 
remains  in  the  same  position  until  the  present  day. 

The  locust-powder'  was  stored  in  a  dry  place,  in  skin  sacks, 
and  kept  for  future  use,  when  it  was  made  into  a  kind  of  por- 
ridge, and  also,  when  mixed  with  honey,  into  a  sort  of  cake, 
which  was  said  by  those  who  have  tasted  it  to  have  been  far 
from  unpalatable.  The  nutritious  properties  of  this  food  were 
proved  by  the  fact  that  during  the  locust  season  the  Bushmen 
increased  in  flesh,  and  became  rotund  and  well-conditioned. 

The  Bushman-rice,  as  it  was  termed  by  the  Dutch,  or  chry- 
salides of  white  ants  obtained  from  the  ants'  nests,  was  merely 
gathered  in  such  quantities  as  sufficed  for  daily  use.  This 
Bushman  rice  was  called  'Kasu  by  the  Bushmen  themselves. 
To  obtain  a  supply,  the  nest  was  opened  with  a  digging  stick , 
called  'Ktbi.  The  "  eggs  "  were  then  taken  out  and  placed 
upon  a  small  grass  mat,  made  expressly  for  the  purpose,  and 
which  was  used  as  a  sieve.  The  "  eggs  "  were  then  properly 
sorted,  and  placed  in  a  small  grass  basket  or  skin  bag,  and  the 
process  was  continued  until  a  sufficient  quantity  was  obtained. 
They  were  then  taken  to  the  cave  or  camp,  when  they  were 
placed  on  the  fire,  on  a  flat  stone  with  a  little  fat,  and  roasted 
until  they  were  brown,  when  they  were  considered  fit  for  use. 

Among  the  reptiles  most  esteemed  as  food  were  the  great 
frog  and  the  iguana,  both  of  which  are  said  by  epicures  to  possess 
a  most  delicate  and  chicken-like  flavour.  The  enormous  frog 
(Pycicephalus  adspersus)  (Dr.  Smith),  called  the  brul-pad,  or 
bellowing  toad,  from  the  noise  it  makes  resembling  the  bellow 
of  a  bull,  by  the  Dutch,  and  matlameto  by  the  Bakuena,  is 
supposed  by  the  natives  to  fall  from  the  thunder-clouds,  on 
account  of  their  sudden  appearance  during  rain,  as  frequently 
when  the  rain  is  falling  a  sudden  chorus  is  raised  on  all  sides, 
which  seems  to  strengthen  the  belief.  The  Bushmen,  how- 
ever, found  out  that  in  times  of  drought  it  makes  a  hole  at  the 

'  The  method  of  baking  the  locusts  was  by  hollowing  out  and  heating 
beforehand  a  deserted  anthill.  They  were  poured  into  this  primitive  oven 
through  a  hole  at  the  top,  and  when  sufficiently  dried,  which  was  in  a  short 
time,  were  raked  out  through  another  at  the  bottom. — Memoir  of  Miss 
L.  E.  Lemvie,  C.  S.  Orpen's  Notes. 


root  of  certain  bushes.  And  as  it  seldom  quits  its  hiding-place, 
a  large  variety  of  spider  takes  advantage  of  the  hole,  and  makes 
its  web  across  the  orifice,  and  thus  it  is  discovered  by  them. 

Savage  as  they  were  deemed  to  be,  they  had  several  modes  of 
cooking,  viz :— boihng,  roasting  or  broiling,  and  baking.  The 
last,  as  we  have  seen,  was  sometimes  accomphshed  by  the  help 
of  a  deserted  ant-heap.  Meat  was  sometimes  prepared  in  this 
manner  ;  but  the  chmax  of  Bushman  cookery  was  reached  in 
the  mode  they  adopted  in  preparing  the  foot  of  the  elephant  or 
hippopotamus,  a  delicacy  supposed  to  be  the  portion  of  their 
great  chiefs.  After  an  elephant  or  hippopotamus  had  been 
kiUed  or  captured,  the  tribe  gave  itself  up  to  feasting  and  fes- 
tivity. A  hole  was  dug  in  the  ground,  in  which  a  large  fire  was 
made.  When  it  was  thoroughly  heated,  and  the  coals  and 
ashes  were  raked  out,  the  great  foot  of  the  animal  was  placed 
in  the  centre,  and  it  was  then  covered  in  with  the  ashes  which 
had  been  abstracted.  In  this  position  it  was  allowed  to  remain 
until  the  following  morning,  when,  according  to  the  testimony 
of  old  hunters,  these  wild  men  produced  a  dish  fit  for  an  em- 
peror ! 

They  obtained  fire  by  using  fire-sticks.  The  Bushmen 
employed  several  kinds  of  wood  in  making  them  ;  one  was  a 
small  thorny  bush  abundant  in  some  parts  of  South  Africa,  and 
called  Mosukutsoane  by  the  Basutu,  another  that  of  the  wild 
fig,  and  a  third  that  sometimes  called  Melkbosch  by  the  Dutch, 
a  species  of  Asclepias,  the  "  wild  cotton  "  of  the  Settlers.  Two 
small  pieces  of  one  or  other  of  these  woods  were  taken  ;  the  one 
was  round,  and  pointed  at  one  end,  the  otherhad  been  flattened, 
with  a  small  rounded  hollow  in  the  centre  of  it,  into  which  the 
pointed  end  of  the  former  was  introduced  as  in  a  loose  socket, 
which  by  being  rubbed  briskly  between  the  palms  of  the  hands 
was  made  to  revolve  rapidly.  In  a  few  seconds,  under  their 
skilful  manipulation,  fire  would  make  its  appearance.  A  small 
groove  was  cut  from  the  socket  in  the  lower  piece  to  allow  the 
ignited  particles  to  escape. 

Mr.  Octavius  Bowker,  who  has  frequently  in  his  hunting 
expeditions  been  accompanied  by  some  of  these  wild  huntsmen, 
has  assured  the  writer  that  he  has  been  perfectly  astonished  at 
the  readiness  and  rapidity  with  which  he  has  seen  them  obtain 


fire  to  cook  any  game  that  may  have  fallen  in  the  chase.  On 
one  sjjecial  occasion,  during  a  halt,  one  of  his  Bushmen  attend- 
ants imdertook  to  broil  some  steaks  for  him  from  an  eland  that 
had  been  shot.  His  volunteer  cook  first  collected  a  quantity 
of  dry  wildebeest  dung,  and  with  a  sharp  stick  dug  up  a  number 
of  grass  roots  ;  these  he  placed  in  a  smaU  circle,  putting  the 
meat  in  the  centre.  He  produced  his  fire-sticks,  and  with  a  few 
rapid  whirls  obtained  the  necessary  fire  to  set  the  whole  in  a 
blaze,  and  in  a  short  time  produced  as  savoury  a  repast  as  any 
genuine  hunter  could  desire  ;  and  this,  he  assured  his  master, 
was  the  method  of  cooking  game  adopted  by  his  countrymen. 

Chapter  IV 


Having  thus  obtained  a  slight  insight  into  their  means  of  sub- 
sistence, we  will  now  proceed  to  make  some  inquiry  with  regard 
to  their  Weapons  and  Poisons. 

In  entering  upon  this  portion  of  our  subject  we  find  our- 
selves confronted  with  the  important  and  interesting  fact  that 
the  Bushmen  were  not  only  cave-dwellers,  but  also  the  manu- 
facturers of  the  stone  implements  which  are  found  scattered 
all  over  the  surface  of  the  country ;  and,  moreover,  it  is  equally 
certain  that  implements  of  this  kind  were  still  manufactured 
and  used  by  some  of  their  more  isolated  clans  until  within  as 
recent  a  period  as  the  last  fifteen  or  twenty  years.  This  circum- 
stance was  so  well  known  that  when  any  of  these  implements 
have  been  presented  to  old  Koranas  or  Bachoana,  with  an 
inquiry  as  to  what  they  were  intended  for,  they  have  invariably 
answered,  "  They  are  Bushman  knives  !  " 

Some  have  questioned  the  authenticity  of  these  stone  relics 
of  South  Africa,  asserting  somewhat  emphatically  that  the 
whole  of  them  were  merely  natural  exfoliations  from  the  parent 
rock.  It  is  quite  possible  that  exfoliations  of  this  kind  might 
have  first  taught  primitive  man  the  benefit  to  be  derived  from 
a  sharp-edged  tool,  and  that  he  subsequently  learnt  the  method 
of  striking  them  off  himself  when  no  others  were  to  be  found, 
and,  finally,  of  improving  the  efficiency  of  their  edges  by  chip- 
ping and  grinding  them,  varying  their  shapes  according  to  the 
uses  for  which  they  were  intended.  The  proofs,  however,  of 
their  having  been  shaped  by  human  hands  are  too  overwhelm- 
ing to  be  gainsaid.  The  writer  has  found  them  in  all  parts  of 
South  Africa  which  he  has  visited.  Numerous  chipping  places 
are  to  be  found  where  the  flakes  are  scattered  round,  and  the 
cores  lying  amongst  them.     He  has  seen  these  places  near  the 



banks  of  rivers,  on  the  tops  of  kopjes,  whence  an  extensive  view 
of  the  country  could  be  obtained,  and  especially  near  their 
caves,  where  among  the  refuse  belonging  to  the  larger  ones 
immense  numbers  are  still  frequently  to  be  found. 

The  favourite  rock  for  making  them  was  Lydite,  although 
any  other  hard  rock  was  frequently  employed.  These  materials 
must  in  most  cases  have  been  brought  from  long  distances,  as 
no  similar  rocks  Could  be  found  for  many  miles.  Arrow-tips 
and  small  drills  were  generally  formed  of  flint,  agate,  or  chalce- 
dony, which  in  many  instances  could  only  have  been  obtained 
from  distant  tribes.  As  an  illustration  of  this,  the  following 
were  the  results  of  the  examination  of  a  small  Bushman  cave 
in  the  kloof  near  the  native  location  at  Smithfield,  which  had 
evidently  been  only  an  occasional  residence  of  an  insignificant 
family  or  clan.  The  rocks  of  the  surrounding  country  are  com- 
posed exclusively  of  those  of  what  are  termed  the  Karoo  or 
Lacustrine  formation,  with  igneous  dykes  protruding  through 
them,  while  the  micaceous-sandstone,  schistose  and  jaspideous 
rocks  here  spoken  of  are  only  to  be  found  among  the  older  forma- 
tions which  formed  its  ancient  coast-line  or  boundary,  the 
nearest  known  point  of  which  must  be  at  least  some  one  hundred 
and  fifty  to  two  hundred  miles  from  Smithfield.  The  agates, 
chalcedony,  etc.,  could  have  been  obtained  from  the  Vaal,  the 
Orange,  or  Caledon  rivers. 

The  examination  of  this  cave  was  made  through  the  ener- 
getic aid  of  Mr.  Charles  Sirr  Orpen,  who  pointed  it  out  to  the 
writer  and  accompanied  him  to  it,  taking  with  him  a  man  and 
the  necessary  implements  for  a  vigorous  search.  The  floor  of 
the  cave  was  then  gradually  cleared  out,  and  the  soil  and  refuse 
ashes  thus  obtained  carefully  sifted  and  sorted,  with  the  follow- 
ing interesting  results.  They  were  found  to  comprise  from  the 
animal  kingdom  fragments  of  bone,  pieces  of  ostrich  eggshells, 
and  fresh-water  shells  ;  from  the  mineral  numerous  stone  imple- 
ments and  chips,  together  with  some  relics  of  native  manu- 
facture.    They  were  as  follows — 

Animal  remains,  among  numerous  small  fragments  of  bone  :— 

Leg  bones,  broken  fragments,  various  antelopes  ...  S 

Small  scapula,  animal  unknown i 

„         clavicle      ,,  „         ....  ...  i 


Fragments  of  various  small  skulls,  among  which  two 

under-maxillary  bones  of  small  rodents      ....  6 

Teeth,  antelope 4 

wild-boar ^ 

—  6 

I  rib,  antelope ^ 

Fragments  of  Ostrich  Shell : — 

Fragments  comparatively  recent I2 

„  ancient,  slightly  damaged I2 

,,  ,,         almost  fossilized 5 

—  29 

Some  of  these  had  evidently  been  broken  up  with  the  in- 
tention of  manufacturing  beads. 
Fresh-water  Shells  : — 

Fragments  probably  used  as  scrapers —  4 

Total  of  animal  remains 53 

Stone  Implements,  etc.  : — 

Knives  and  drills  (Lydite)         8 

Scrapers  ,,  12 

„         (Micaceous  sandstone) 4 

,,         (Schistose-rock)  i 

Chipped  agates,  drills  and  scrapers u 

Quartz  and  chalcedony — chipped  fragments    ....     13 

Fragments — j  aspideous-rock 5 

Total  of  implements —  54 

Native  manufactures,  pottery,  etc.  : — 

Plain  pottery,  fragments 4 

Pottery,  showing  bordering  edge,  one  with  worked  pattern 

upon  it 2 

—  6 

Bone  shaft  of  arrow,  fragment  made  of  ostrich  leg  bone    .        i 

Stem  of  clay-pipe,  fragment i 

Found  in  upper  surface  : — 

Fragment  of  iron  shaft  of  assagai  much  corroded       .      .       i 

—  3      9 
This  was  the  only  indication  of  metal  discovered. 

One  small  fragment  of  fossil  reptiUan-bone,  derived  from 

karoo-formation  ' 

Total  of  contents  of  cave  ii7 

The  interesting  results  afforded  by  the  above  examination 
of  such  a  small  cave  clearly  indicate  the  important  discoveries 
which  might  be  made  could  time  and  leisure  be  obtained  to  sift 
the  accumulations  on  the  floors  of  the  greater  caves  which  have 
been  inhabited  for  many  generations  by  some  of  the  large  tribes. 
Besides  the  writer's  own  personal  and  somewhat  extended 
experience,  the  following  extracts  will  tend  to  show  the  wide 
field  which  still  remains  unexplored  :  "  The  presence  of  many 


chips  of  implements,  and  a  coarse  kind  of  pottery,  in  some  of 
the  Stormberg  caves,"  says  a  writer  in  the  Cafe  Monthly  Maga- 
zine, "  leads  us  to  hope  that  explorers  may  yet  bring  to  light  as 
startling  facts  from  discoveries  to  be  made  there  as  have  been 
elicited  from  the  thorough  search  in  the  haunts  of  the  so- 
caUed  cave-men  in  England  and  elsewhere." 

The  prevalence  of  stone  weapons  in  Basutoland  and  in  the 
neighbourhood  of  Aliwal  North,  and  also  in  the  caves  of  the 
Stormberg  range,  is  referred  to  in  a  very  interesting  communica- 
tion inserted  below  from  Mr.  Alfred  Brown,  of  Aliwal  North. 
Mr.  St.  Vincent  Cripps  also  discovered  during  his  visit  to  Basuto- 
land a  collection  of  arrow-heads  and  flakes  near  Stephenson's 
Drift,  Orange  River,  in  the  Native  Reserve.  The  implements 
were  Ipng  on  the  undisturbed  surface,  along  the  terraced  ridges 
of  the  river-bank. 

With  regard  to  the  ancient  mounds  and  stone  implements 
occurring  in  the  vicinity  of  Aliwal  North,  and  more  especially 
some  parts  of  Basutoland  recently  annexed  to  the  Orange  Free 
State,  Mr.  Alfred  Brown  writes  :  "  I  presume  that  a  short  note  ^ 
on  these  localities  will  not  be  unacceptable  to  the  readers  of 
your  useful  publication,  as  general  conclusions  are  often  affected 
by  a  more  extended  range  of  observations.  About  ten  miles 
south  of  Koesberg,  lately  Poshuli's  country,  is  an  extensive 
plain,  intersected  by  a  valley  nearly  five  miles  in  length  and 
five  hundred  yards  in  width,  which  is  the  site  of  a  very  interest- 
ing series  of  ancient  mounds  or  refuse  heaps.  The  rocks  form- 
ing the  sides  of  the  valley  consist  of  coarse  gritty  and  quartzose 
sandstone.  Underneath  the  terrace  band  of  sandstone,  which, 
in  general,  considerably  overhangs  the  valley,  and  affords  secure 
shelter  from  the  weather,  are  numerous  caves,  whose  floors  are 
covered  with  the  refuse  deposits  and  mounds,  varying  from 
two  to  eight  feet  in  thickness.  The  mounds  are  now  over- 
grown with  a  coarse  rough  grass,  which  binds  them  so  firmly 
together  that  the  rains  and  rush  of  water  over  the  ledge  of  rocks 
have  scarcely  any  effect  upon  them.  Their  uppermost  surfaces 
are  strewn  with  numerous  fragments  of  stone  implements,  made 
of  materials  obtained  from  rocks  which  do  not  exist  within 
many  miles  of  the  spot.  They  are  composed  of  a  mass  of  ashes, 
1  Article  in  Cape  Monthly  Magazine. 



charred  wood,  fragments  of  implements,  and  numerous  com- 
minuted bones  ;  many  of  the  bones  have  not  only  lost  a  large 
percentage  of  their  animal  matter,  but  sometimes  occur  in  a 
subfossil  condition." 

Having  thus  shown  some  of  the  evidence  which  exists  upon 
the  connexion  between  the  Bushmen  and  the  stone  implements 
found  in  the  country,  the  foUowing  incident  will  tend  to  prove 
that  the  knowledge  of  their  manufacture  and  use  stUl  exists 
among  some  of  the  Bushmen  of  the  present  day.  When  Mr.  F. 
H.  S.  Orpen,  the  Surveyor-General  of  Griqualand  West,  was  on 
one  of  his  tours  of  inspection  in  the  western  portion  of  the  pro- 
vince, accompanied  by  his  son,  the  latter  whilst  out  shooting 
with  a  Bushman  after-rider,  happened  to  kill  a  springbok  in  the 
middle  of  a  large  plain.  When  they  wished  to  lighten  the  buck 
by  disembowelling  it  and  depriving  it  of  its  head,  it  was  dis- 
covered that  neither  had  a  knife  in  his  possession.  In  this 
dilemma  the  Bushman  said  that  it  was  all  right,  and  looking 
round  selected  a  couple  of  stones.  Giving  a  smart  blow  with 
one  piece  above  one  of  the  angles  of  the  other,  he  immediately 
struck  off  a  long  flake  found  to  possess  a  sharp  cutting  edge; 
with  this  he  set  to  work,  and  in  a  short  time  opened  the  buck, 
dressed  it  properly,  cut  the  sinews  of  the  legs,  and  brought  it 
into  a  state  fit  to  place  behind  the  saddle.  He  then  threw  away 
the  stone  implement  which  had  proved  so  useful.  This  manu- 
facture of  a  stone  flake,  merely  for  temporary  use,  seems  to 
explain  the  reason  why  so  many  of  this  kind  are  found  thickly 
strewn  over  different  portions  of  the  old  game  country. 

The  Bushmen,  however,  manufactured  a  large  number  of 
other  implements  intended  for  permanent  use,  which  were 
formed  upon  certain  patterns,  and  fashioned  with  considerable 
care.  These  comprised  spear-heads  (?),  rubbers,  wood  and 
bone-scrapers,  hammers,  arrow  points,  drills,  etc.  One  of  their 
most  valued  implements  was  "  the  poison-stone,"  made  of  a 
smooth  flat  oval  pebble  about  two  and  a  half  inches  long,  with 
a  deep  groove  along  the  centre.  This  was  kept  for  the  purpose 
of  working  the  poison  upon  the  heads  of  their  arrows,  without 
the  necessity  of  touching  it  with  the  fingers.  This  stone  was 
so  highly  prized  by  them  that  it  is  said  they  would  never  part 
with  it,  except  with  their  life.     A  highly  valued  implement  was 


a  cylinder  of  sandstone  about  two  and  a  half  inches  in  diameter 
and  three  in  length,  with  about  five  rather  deep  longitudinal 
grooves  on  its  sides.  These  were  intended  for  forming  the 
round  bone  shafts  of  their  arrows,  and  also  for  rounding  the 
edges  of  their  ostrich  eggshell  beads.  The  stone  bowls  for  pipes 
we  have  already  mentioned. 

Still  another  valued  and  important  implement  was  the  large 
round  perforated  stone  used  to  give  weight  and  impetus  to  the 
'Kibi  or  digging  stick,  which  was  said  also  to  have  been  occa- 
sionally used  as  an  offensive  weapon  or  a  club.  The  stone  itself 
was  called  ^T-koe  or  ^Tikoe,^  signifying  "  the  strong  hand," 
because  they  were  enabled  to  dig  into  hard  surfaces  and  make 
excavations  which  it  would  have  been  impossible  for  them  to 
have  accomphshed  without  its  assistance.  It  was  therefore 
their  veritable  strong  hand,  and  thus  it  was  that  they  achieved 
labours  in  excavating  such  numerous  pitfalls  in  some  parts  of 
the  country  that  intelligent  travellers  have  been  astonished  at 
these  unquestionable  proofs  which  they  have  given  of  their 
untiring  industry. 

The  rock  selected  for  making  these  stones  was  either  a  fine 
crystalline  igneous  one,  or  a  tough  close-grained  sandstone. 
They  were  first,  with  infinite  labour,  rounded  into  the  required 
shape,  either  a  spherical  or  oblong  ball,  which  varied  from  three 
to  six,  eight,  or  nine  inches  in  the  diameter  of  their  longest  axis. 
The  smaller  were  generally  of  the  former,  the  larger  of  the  latter 
shape.  The  process  of  making  a  hole  through  the  centre,  or  in 
those  of  an  oblong  or  egg-shape  through  the  longest  axis,  must 
have  been  a  work  of  much  time  and  patience,  and  was  per- 
formed with  a  sharp-pointed  piete  of!  black  stone  which  they 
called  T'wing  (Lydite).  At  first  a  slight  indentation  was  made 
at  each  end  of  the  stone,  in  which  a  few  drops  of  water  were 
alternately  placed  and  allowed  to  stand  all  night,  and  the  next 
morning  a  little  more  was  worked  out,  when  a  little  more  water 
was  placed  in  the  hollow.     This  process  was  repeated  day  after 

1  With  regard  to  this  stone,  the  'Tikoe,  Miss  L.  E.  Lemue  writes 
that  it  was  considered  "  such  a  valuable  article  with  the  Bushmen, 
that  it  was  never  left  behind  or  thrown  away."  Notes  of  Charles  S. 
Orpen.  This,  therefore,  would  seem  to  indicate  that  when  these  im- 
plements are  found  scattered  over  the  country,  their  unfortunate  owners 
must  either  have  been  suddenly  slain,  or  they  must  have  been  acci- 
dentally lost  in  their  panic  and  flight  from  their  enemies. 


day,  and  thus  by  slow  degrees  a  large  hole  was  at  last  worked 
through  the  hard  stone,  which  was  then  smoothed,  and  was  fit 
for  use.  A  strong  stick  of  hard  wood,  rather  more  than  two  feet 
long,  was  then  procured,  which  was  sharpened  at  one  end,  the 
other  pushed  through  the  hole  in  the  stone  until  it  protruded 
about  six  inches,  when  it  was  firmly  wedged  in  its  place.  This 
formed  the  Bushman's  celebrated  'Kibi,  or  digging  stick,  upon 
which  he  had  solely  to  depend  in  times  of  scarcity  for  a  means 
of  subsistence.  Its  origin,  therefore,  in  aU  probability,  is  one 
of  remote  antiquity. 

The  flat  stones  used  for  roasting  the  ants'  "  eggs "  were 
slightly  hollowed  in  the  middle,  which  was  formed  by  chipping 
out  the  hollow  with  another  hard  stone.  Small  tortoise-shells 
were  sometimes  used  as  drinking-cups,  and  the  large  ones  as 
dishes  for  their  different  kinds  of  porridge,  etc. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Stormberg,  the  Orange  {'Nu-Gariep), 
and  Caledon  rivers  used  very  short  bows,  while  the  tribes  north 
of  the  Vaal  {'Gij  'Gariep)  and  to  the  westward  used  bows  of  a 
much  longer  kind.  Any  one  unaccustomed  to  the  use  of  weapons 
of  the  former  description  was  unable  to  draw  them  to  their  full 
strength.  This  was  done  by  holding  the  bow  itself  firmly  in 
the  left  hand,  and  placing  three  fingers  of  the  right  upon  the 
string,  steadying  the  end  of  the  arrow  between  the  thumb  and 
first  finger,  then  drawing  the  arrow  up  to  the  head.  This  could 
not  be  done  with  one  straight  pull,  but  with  three  jerky  move- 
ments ;  the  first  drew  the  string  out  of  line,  the  second  about 
half  the  length  of  the  arrow,  and  the  third  up  to  its  head,  when 
the  missile  was  immediately  freed  for  flight.  This  extension 
gave  great  impetus  to  the  poisoned  shaft,  and  sent  it  not  only 
to  a  considerable  distance,  but  with  sufficient  force  to  pierce  the 
thickest  hide.  A  bow,  however,  thus  drawn,  when  incautiously 
managed  by  a  novice,  was  very  apt  to  strip  the  .flesh  from  the 
tips  of  the  fingers  of  the  uninitiated  one  who  ventured  to  try 
the  experiment. 

The  Bushmen  used  two  kinds  of  arrows,  one  of  which  had 
a  very  sharp  bone  point  or  pile.  In  making  these,  or  the  heads 
of  their  fishing  harpoons,  awls,  and  other  similar  bone  imple- 
ments, the  bone  of  the  ostrich  leg  was  always  preferred  to  any 
other,  on  account  of  its  superior  hardness  and  toughness.   These 


piles  were  fitted  carefully  into  the  end  of  the  reed,  which  was 
neatly  bound  round  and  strengthened  with  a  narrow  band  of 
sinew.  The  arrows  were  from  fifteen  to  eighteen  inches  in 
length,  of  which  two-thirds  were  composed  of  the  reed,  the  other 
of  the  pointed  bone  shaft ;  in  some  cases  they  were  tipped  with 
sharp  horn  points.  The  second  kind  was  exactly  like  the  first, 
with  the  exception  of  the  head,  which  originally  was  made  of 
a  triangular  chipped  piece  of  flint,  agate,  chalcedony,  etc,  fitted 
into  the  bone,  which  instead  of  having  a  sharp  point  was  cut 
off  square,  into  which  a  groove  or  notch  was  cut  rather  more 
than  the  eighth  of  an  inch  in  depth,  into  which  the  triangular 
head  was  fitted,  and  held  in  its  place  either  with  a  little  tough 
well-tempered  clay  or  the  milky  sap  of  a  plant  called  by  the 
Basutu  Setloko. 

About  an  inch  and  a  half  from  the  head  a  small  piece  of 
quill  was  so  fixed  as  to  act  as  a  barb,  and  was  neatly  fastened 
in  its  place  with  a  binding  of  sinew.  All  this  portion  of  the 
head  was  carefully  covered  with  the  poison,  which  had  some- 
thing of  the  consistency  of  black  wax,  and  which  by  firmly 
adhering  to  the  sinew  binding  tended  also  to  keep  the  head  in 
its  place.  An  arrow  of  this  kind,  having  struck  an  animal  and 
penetrated  beyond  the  quill  barb,  would  have  no  chance  of 
falling  out  ;  and  even  if  in  the  efforts  of  the  animal  to  escape  the 
reed  portion  should  become  separated,  the  bone  part  of  the 
shaft  with  its  poisoned  head  remained  behind,  rankling  in  the 
wound  with  every  motion  which  it  made. 

After  the  Bushmen  came  into  contact  with  the  stronger 
races  which  were  acquainted  with  the  use  of  metals,  they 
adopted  small  triangular  pieces  of  iron  for  their  arrow  points, 
instead  of  the  more  primitive  materials  used  by  their  fathers  ; 
many  of  the  more  isolated  clans,  however,  still  retained  them 
to  within  a  few  years  of  the  present  time.  Mr.  W.  Coates  Pal- 
grave  informed  the  writer  that  at  the  time  of  his  first  visit  among 
the  Bushmen  of  the  lower  portion  of  the  'Gariep  or  Great  river, 
they  used  invariably  small  chips  of  chalcedony,  etc.,  probably 
obtained  from  some  of  the  agate  gravels  of  the  river,  for  making 
the  sharp  points  of  their  poisoned  arrows  ;  but  that  after  travellers 
had  passed  through  their  country  and  scattered  a  number  of  old 
bottles  about  in  various  directions,  he  found  when  he  again 


visited  them  that  they  were  using  chipped  pieces  of  glass  m 
preference,  having  found  that  they  could  give  a  sharper  edge  to 
the  new  material  than  to  that  which  they  had  before  employed. 

Mr.  Palgrave  sent  one  of  the  stone-headed  arrows  to  Cape 
Town.  This  interesting  specimen  has  been  described  by  the 
same  writer,  in  the  Cape  Monthly,  as  the  one  previously  men- 
tioned, and  as  it  differs  slightly  from  those  which  the  writer 
himself  personally  examined,  we  cannot  do  better  than  compare 
it  with  the  details  of  those  already  given.  It  came  from  the 
northern  borders.  "  The  construction  of  it,"  says  its  describer, 
"  is  highly  interesting  as  a  key  to  the  method  of  fixing  stone 
arrow  tips  in  the  shaft.  The  workmanship  is  wonderfully  neat 
and  effective.  The  shaft  consists  of  two  lengths  of  fine  reed, 
between  which  (for  strength  and  weight)  is  socketed  a  bone  of 
three  inches  in  length.  The  joints  are  firmly  secured  by  tightly 
bound  strips  of  the  sinews  of  animals.  Into  the  end  of  the  reed 
shaft  is  inserted  a  small  leaf -shaped  arrow-head  of  quartz  crystal, 
the  fissure  is  narrow,  and  the  arrow-head,  excepting  the  very 
tip  and  edges,  is  embedded  in  a  fine  cement,  apparently  clay, 
and  evidently  dressed  with  some  poisonous  matter.  The  stone 
arrow-head  is  sharp  at  the  edges  and  the  point.  A  horn  barb 
is  spliced  on  about  an  inch  from  the  arrow-head.  There  is  a 
coating  of  clay  along  the  shaft  for  about  three  inches,  securing 
the  barb,  and  giving  weight,  as  well  as  preventing  the  splitting 
of  the  reed.     This  constitutes  a  formidable  weapon." 

"It  is  remarkable,"  he  further  writes,  "  that  in  my  col- 
lection I  have  a  well-shaped  arrow-head,  found  on  the  Cape 
Flats,  of  the  same  size  and  material  as  the  one  fixed  in  this 
Bushman  arrow."  The  present  writer  has  himself  found  a 
considerable  number  in  the  vicinity  of  the  different  Bushman 
caves  he  has  visited  in  the  Free  State  and  elsewhere. 

Some  of  the  tribes  carried  their  arrows  in  a  leathern  bag 
slung  over  the  shoulder,  but  by  far  the  greater  number  pre- 
served them  in  a  quiver,  sometimes  of  leather  or  bark,  but  when- 
ever procurable  the  bark  of  the  Koker-boom,  or  Quiver-tree,  a 
species  of  aloe  widely  spread  over  South  Africa,  and  called 
Aloe  Dichotoma  by  Paterson.  This  was  frequently  ornamented 
round  the  top  with  a  band  of  snake  or  iguana  skin,  and  con- 
tained from  sixty  to  eighty  arrows.     Besides  these  they  fre- 



—  / 

2,  2,  2. — Poison. 

3.  3.  3- — Bone  Shaft. 

i_  I. —  Quill  or  Horn  Barb, 
j  Showing  Joint  before 
I     covered  with  poison. 

5,  g,  5.— Reed  Shaft. 
6. — Snake's  Skin. 


quently  carried  a  number  in  a  fillet  round  their  heads,  for  rapid 
use  as  well  as  to  strike  their  enemies  with  terror.  Some  wore 
them  sticking  out  like  rays  all  around  ;  others  again  had  eight 
or  ten  on  each  side,  so  arranged  as  to  represent  horns,  and  others 
fixed  these  arrows  in  such  a  manner  that  the  ends  alternately 
crossed  each  other  until  they  formed  a  kind  of  ridged  roof  or 
helmet  over  the  head  of  the  warrior-huntsman.  They  were 
able  to  shoot  one  of  these  arrows  to  a  distance  of  two  hundred 
paces,  and  could  hit  a  mark,  some  with  unerring  precision,  and 
all  with  a  tolerable  degree  of  certainty,  from  fifty  to  a  hundred. 

Besides  their  bows  and  arrows  the  Bushmen  made  use  of 
other  weapons  in  the  chase  or  in  war.  We  have  already  noticed 
that  the  'Kibi  occasionally  served  as  a  mace  or  club  ;  they  also 
employed  small  darts,  or  assagais,  which  were  thrown  by  the 
hand.  Their  construction  differed  from  those  belonging  to  the 
Kaffir  races.  They  had  remarkably  short  lance-shaped  blades, 
and  the  heads,  before  their  intercourse  with  the  stronger  races 
who  were  acquainted  with  the  use  of  iron,  were  formed  of  chipped 
and  sharpened  pieces  of  lydite,  etc.  They  were  also  poisoned 
in  a  similar  manner  to  their  arrows.  The  shafts  of  these  weapons 
were  about  three  feet  long.  They  were  never  employed  except 
at  short  distances,  or  at  close  quarters,  and  when  hunting  such 
large  animals  as  the  elephant,  hippopotamus,  etc. 

The  force  with  which  an  expert  hunter  could  hurl  one  of 
these  primitive  missiles  is  well  illustrated  by  an  incident  which 
Campbell  recorded  in  his  first  journey  into  the  Interior,  when 
a  Bushman  showed  his  dexterity  in  using  even  a  common  stone 
with  fatal  effect.  A  quagga  being  wounded,  but  still  attempt- 
ing to  escape,  this  Bushman  threw  off  his  skin  kaross,  ran  towards 
it,  and  with  great  exertion  threw  a  stone  which  sank  into  its 
forehead,  on  which  he  drew  out  a  knife  which  had  been  given  to 
him  and  stabbed  it. 

The  Bushmen  near  Lake  Ngami,  who  are  great  elephant- 
hunters,  use  a  strong  broad-bladed  assagai  attached  to  a  thick 
shaft  about  five  feet  in  length  ;  this  is  not  intended  for  throwing, 
•but  is  used  as  a  spear  simply  for  thrusting  at  close  quarters,  and 
is  employed  by  them  in  their  attacks  upon  the  great  pachyderm. 
These  blades,  being  made  of  iron,  are  obtained  from  the  neigh- 
bouring tribes,  the  chiefs  of  which  claim  the  tusks  of  all  the 


animals  they  kill.  But  long  before  the  southern  Bushman 
tribes  had  the  slightest  knowledge  of  the  value,  or  even  the 
existence  of  iron,  a  very  large  kind  of  harpoon  or  spear  was  used 
by  them  for  the  purpose  of  hamstringing  the  larger  game,  such 
as  the  elephant  or  hippopotamus.  The  blade  or  head  was 
made  of  a  sharp  stone,  generally  poisoned,  and  attached  to  a 
long  strong  shaft.  This  weapon  was  evidently  the  forerunner 
of  the  broad-bladed  assagai  of  the  Ngami  Bushmen  of  the 
present  day. 

Upon  certain  occasions  some  of  their  clans  used  shields 
made  of  eland's  hide,  such  as  are  depicted  in  their  own  paintings, 
especially  in  some  of  their  methods  of  hunting  the  lion,  when 
this  piece  of  defensive  armour  was  fastened  on  their  backs,  so 
that  should  the  brute  spring  upon  them,  they  threw  themselves 
on  the  ground  and  drew  themselves  up  under  it  after  the  manner 
of  the  tortoise,  and  thus  afforded  their  companions  an  oppor- 
tunity of  rescuing  them. 

In  addition  to  the  foregoing,  the  Bushmen  of  the  'Nu  and 
'Gij  'Gariep  and  their  tributaries,  all  of  whose  streams  abounded 
with  fish,  made  very  ingenious  harpoons  to  enable  them  to 
capture  them.  These  weapons  were  made  with  long,  sharp, 
barbed  points  of  bone.  This  portion  of  the  harpoon  was  valued 
so  very  highly  by  the  owners  that,  although  the  shafts  after  use 
might  be  thrown  away,  the  bone  points  were  always  carried  with 
them  when  they  migrated  from  one  spot  to  another,  with  the 
same  care  as  that  which  they  bestowed  upon  the  preservation 
of  the  "  poison  stone  "  and  their  "  strong  hand,"  the  Tikoe  of 
their  digging  sticks.  The  shafts  were  made  of  the  stems  of  the 
mountain  bamboo,  to  which  a  long  line  made  from  the  back 
sinews  of  an  antelope  was  attached. 

Mr.  Jan  Wessels  has  assured  the  writer  that  he  has  many 
times  watched  the  Bushmen  using  these  weapons,  and  has  been 
astonished  at  the  dexterity  and  unerring  aim  with  which  they 
struck  and  landed  fish  of  a  considerable  size.  The  use  of  this 
weapon  must  necessarily  have  been  confined  to  such  tribes  as 
lived  along  the  course  of  the  great  rivers  mentioned  and  their 
affluents,  and  possibly  some  of  those  inhabiting  the  sea  coast. 
Those  which  were  seen  and  examined  were  in  the  possession  of 
Bushmen  belonging  to  the  valleys  of  the  'Nu  or  'Gij  'Gariep. 


Another  bone  implement  much  valued  by  the  Bushmen  was 
the  awl,  made  out  of  a  piece  of  the  leg  bone  of  an  ostrich,  some- 
times also  of  ivory,  although  the  former  kind  appears  to  have 
been  in  more  general  use.  They  were  about  four  inches  in 
length,  the  thickness  of  a  moderately  sized  porcupine's  quill, 
and  tapering  gradually  towards  both  ends  to  a  sharp  point.  A 
Bushman  generally  carried  two  or  three  of  these  of  different 
sizes  in  his  velzak,  which  he  used  when  required  after  the  fashion 
of  a  modem  cobbler,  by  first  boring  the  hole  and  then  intro- 
ducing the  thread  of  sinew,  and  although  this  was  a  slow  and 
tedious  process,  it  was  remarkable  with  what  neatness  and 
regularity  they  were  able  to  place  the  stitches  into  the  work 
upon  which  they  were  engaged.  This  was  especially  seen  in 
some  of  the  caps  they  manufactured  of  jackal's  skin,  very  much 
in  the  shape  of  a  Turkish  fez. 

The  stone  scrapers  were  of  two  kinds,  one  employed  in  clean- 
ing and  rounding  not  only  their  bows,  but  also  the  handles  and 
shafts  of  their  kerries,  darts,  and  harpoons,  which  was  generally 
a  thin  and  nearly  flat  flake  of  stone,  with  a  deep  semicircular 
notch  in  one  side,  with  a  sharp  edge,  and  varying  in  size  accord- 
ing to  the  required  thickness  of  the  shaft  to  be  manufactured. 
This  was  used  as  a  kind  of  primitive  spokeshave.  The  other 
was  also  a  tolerably  flat,  but  thicker  stone  than  the  last,  about 
two  and  a  half  to  three  inches  across  the  broadest  part,  and  of 
a  rudely  circular  shape,  but  such  as  could  be  conveniently  gripped 
by  its  outer  edge  between  the  fore-finger  and  the  thumb.  It 
was  used  in  the  preparation  of  their  skin  mantles  and  bags,  in 
scraping  and  clearing  away  any  extraneous  matter  adhering  to 
the  skin  under  manipulation,  which  after  undergoing  a  course 
of  scraping,  rubbing,  and  stretching  with  the  hands  and  tramp- 
ling with  the  feet,  was  at  last  reduced  to  the  required  degree  of 
softness.  The  skin  of  the  springbok  was  the  one  which  was 
preferred  in  the  construction  of  these  mantles.  In  summer  one 
only  was  worn,  suspended  from  the  shoulders  with  the  head 
downward,  forming  a  kind  of  ornamental  appendage ;  when 
cold  they  wore  two,  one  hanging  on  each  side.  Their  favourite 
bags  for  hanging  at  their  waists  were  made  of  meer-kat  skins. 
It  was  in  a  bag  of  this  description  that  they  carried  the  lump  of 
deadly  poison  which  they  applied  to  their  fatal  arrows. 


Having  thus  gained  some  insight  into  the  description  of 
weapons  and  implements  used  by  the  primitive  Bushmen,  we 
will  now  attempt  to  make  a  further  advance  by  taking  mto 
consideration  the  means  they  adopted  to  render  these  appar- 
ently rude  and,  to  modern  ideas,  almost  useless  weapons  efficient 
and  formidable. 

From  all  the  evidence  which  can  be  obtained  from  Korana 
and  other  native  sources,  the  Bushman  race  alone  of  all  the 
South  African  tribes  used  poison  to  render  the  effects  of  their 
weapons  more  fatal.  We  shall  discover,  as  we  proceed,  that  the 
early  Hottentot  tribes  were  ignorant  of  its  use,  and  did  not  adopt 
the  practice  until  after  their  retreat  from  the  Cape  districts, 
when  they  came  in  contact  with  the  Bushman  tribes  of  the  valley 
of  the  'Gariep  or  Great  river.  The  same  may  be  said  with 
regard  to  the  Bachoana  and  Basutu,  whose  ancestors  were  also 
armed  with  bows  and  arrows  from  a  remote  period,  with  the  ex- 
ception that  their  bows,  as  might  have  been  expected,  were  much 
larger,  and  frequently  more  elaborately  poUshed  and  strengthened 
with  strips  of  sinew  bound  round  different  portions  of  them.  The 
border  tribe  of  the  Batlapin,  however,  was  the  only  known  one 
of  their  race  who  made  use  of  poison,  a  mode  of  warfare  which 
they  adopted  to  enable  them  to  compete  with  the  Koranas 
and  Bushmen  ;  but  for  a  long  time  after  doing  so  they  still  re- 
mained ignorant  of  its  mode  of  preparation,  and  had  to  depend 
solely  upon  whatever  chance  supply  they  could  obtain  from  one 
or  other  of  these  people. 

With  regard  to  the  antiquity  of  the  use  of  the  bow  among 
the  Basutu  tribes,  in  an  ancient  Bushman  painting  in  a  cave  in 
the  Wittebergen  of  the  Orange  Free  State,  which  represents  a 
battle  scene  between  the  Bushmen  and  these  people,  the  latter 
are  armed  with  long  bows,  exactly  similar  to  those  employed  by 
the  Bamangwato  and  Mashoona  tribes  living  between  the  Lim- 
popo and  Zambesi  of  the  present  day.  The  last-mentioned 
tribe  manufacture  the  most  elaborate  iron  barbed  points  for 
their  arrows,  the  shafts  of  which  are  not  only  fledged  with  the 
greatest  neatness,  but  the  shaft  itself  is  often  etched  over  with 
zigzag  patterns.  Such  elaborations  in  their  structure  evidently 
shew  that  they  have  been  manufactured  by  experts,  and 
are  not  the  experimental  trials  of  novices,  while  their  bows,  as 


above  noticed,  are  much  stronger,  longer,  and  more  highly 
finished.  In  speaking  with  some  of  the  old  natives  of  these 
tribes,  the  writer  has  been  assured  that  none  of  their 
weapons  in  the  older  times  were  poisoned,  and  yet  the  bow 
and  arrow  were  the  weapons  of  their  fathers. 

The  origin  of  the  old  hunter  race  poisoning  their  darts  and 
arrows  was  doubtless  occasioned  from  the  fragile  materials  of 
which  they  were  made,  and  the  necessity  of  rendering  the  wounds 
inflicted  by  their  bone  and  flint-pointed  arrows  more  certainly 
fatal  than  it  was  possible  for  them  to  be  in  the  primitive  state 
of  their  manufacture. 

Witnessing  the  fatal  effects  of  the  bite  of  many  of  the 
venomous  snakes  which  infested  the  country  would,  in  all  proba- 
bility, be  the  first  thing  which  suggested  to  the  dawning  inven- 
tive faculties  of  the  human  mind  the  potency  of  such  an  applica- 
tion to  their  arrows,  and  which  would  also  at  the  same  time 
point  to  the  source  whence  the  means  could  be  procured  of 
rendering  their  weapons  equally  dangerous ;  and  experience 
would  ultimately  teach  them  that  different  poisons,  more  or 
less  virulent,  were  required  to  secure  the  different  kinds  of  game 
which  they  hunted. 

Those  of  the  stronger  races  using  more  powerful  and  for- 
midable weapons  of  the  same  class  would  not  have  to  resort  to 
the  same  expedient,  but  would  naturally  rely  upon  the  greater 
penetrative  powers  of  their  well-fledged  and  cruelly  double 
barbed  arrows  for  equally  fatal  results.  That  such  races  may 
have,  at  a  remote  period,  fashioned  their  weapons  after  the  model 
of  still  more  primitive  hunters  need  not  be  questioned,  as  well  as 
that  of  using  at  one  time  or  the  other  poisoned  points.  At  any 
rate,  from  aJl  the  evidence  the  writer  has  been  able  to  gather 
upon  the  subject,  the  more  advanced  Basutu  tribes  for  a  length- 
ened period  used  bows  with  unpoisoned  arrows,  while  the  Bush- 
men, on  the  other  hand,  employed  shafts  whose  fatal  potency 
was  attributable  to  the  virulent  poisons  with  which  they  were 

The  Bushmen  of  the  same  locality  used  different  kinds  of 
poison  on  different  occasions,  according  to  the  description  of 
game  they  were  hunting.  Poisons  sufficiently  strong  to  destroy 
the  springbok  and  smaller  kind  of  antelopes  were  not  equally 


successful  with  the  wildebeest  and  the  quagga  ;  the  lion  also 
required  poison  of  considerable  strength,  while  the  buffalo  and 
the  ostrich  required  the  most  potent  of  all.  Different  tribes 
.used  different  ingredients  and  modes  of  preparation,  even  with 
the  poisons  deemed  the  most  virulent ;  thus,  according  to  Living- 
stone, the  Bushmen  of  the  North,  Uving  at  Rapesli  and  Kama- 
Kama  (Pools  of  Pools,  or  Pools  of  Water)  used  for  their  strongest 
poison  the  entrails  of  a  caterpillar  called  'N'gwa,  half  an  inch 

By  a  lucky  accident  Mr.  Chapman  discovered  the  antidote 
for  this  poison.  The  Bushmen  were  most  unwilling  to  give  any 
information  upon  the  subject,  denying  the  existence  of  an  anti- 
dote at  all.  From  the  researches  of  the  writer,  he  is  convinced 
that  there  were  certain  secrets  among  many  of  the  tribes  which 
were  not  known  to  every  member  of  them,  but  which  were  kept 
as  heirlooms  in  a  certain  branch  or  family,  and  which  gave  them 
a  superiority  over  the  rest,  thus  laying  the  first  foundations  of 
"  caste."  This  seems  to  have  been  especially  the  case,  not  only 
in  the  manipulation  and  preparation  of  poisons,  and  the  anti- 
dotes suited  thereto,  but  even  in  a  more  marked  manner  among 
those  tribes  that  produced  the  great  artists  of  their  race,  the 
proper  mixture  and  employment  of  colours  was  only  known  to 
the  few,  and  not  to  the  many.  This  exclusive  knowledge  natur- 
ally gave  rise  to  an  amount  of  reticence  on  the  part  of  those  who 
were  the  guardians  of  these  special  secrets,  that  was  most  difficult 
to  overcome. 

It  is  not  at  all  unHkely,  however,  that  when  one  tribe  after 
the  other  was  broken  up,  and  the  fugitive  members  dispersed 
in  all  directions,  after  they  were  harried  and  hunted  like  so  many 
wild  beasts  by  the  grasping  invaders  of  their  ancient  hunting 
grounds,  the  knowledge  of  the  composition  and  preparation  of 
the  various  poisons  employed  by  them,  and  so  necessary  to 
their  preservation,  became  more  widely  diffused ;  but  as  far  as 
can  be  ascertained,  in  the  days  of  their  undisturbed  possession 
this  was  not  so,  such  secrets  being  retained  exclusively  in  the 
famiUes  of  the  ruling  chiefs,  the  knowledge  being  rigidly  with- 
held from  those  outside  this  sacred  circle,  an  illustration  that 
even  among  the  Bushmen  the  truth  of  the  axiom  was  recog- 
nized that  "  Knowledge  is   Power."     Thus  it  is  that  frequently 


so  much  difficulty  is  experienced  in  obtaining  information  from 
this  old-world  race.  Acting  up  to  the  traditions  of  their  fathers, 
they  often  either  profess  a  profound  ignorance,  evade  the  in- 
quiries, or  maintain  a  mysterious  silence. 

However,  in  discovering  the  antidote  alluded  to,  Mr.  Chapman 
states  that  he  had  asked  the  question  again  and  again,  but 
could  never  obtain  the  desired  information,  untU  one  day  hap- 
pening to  hear  some  Bushmen  expatiating  on  the  wonderful 
powers  of  the  white  men,  especially  having  with  their  own  eyes 
seen  them  consulting  the  stars  by  means  of  a  glass,  he  took  the 
opportunity  of  a  lad's  coming  in  with  a  collection  of  insects, 
among  which  were  the  poison  grub  and  beetle,  to  ask  them 
abruptly,  just  as  if  he  had  known  all  about  it,  "  What  do  you 
call  that  plant  with  which  you  cure  the  poison  of  the  ^Th-a  ?  " 
The  Bushmen  answered  at  once  " '  Kalahetlue,"  its  Sechuana  name, 
adding,  "  But  who  told  you  about  it  ?  "  and  concluded  with  the 
remark,  "  These  white  men  are  children  of  God,  they  know 
everything  !  "  In  making  further  inquiries  on  the  subject  from 
different  Bushmen,  he  found  they  were  reserved  about  this 
antidote,  and  as  he  heard,  had  even  preferred  death  to  divulging 
the  secret ;  but  although  they  all  professed  ignorance  of  the 
antidote  for  the  'Th-a,  yet  finding  that  Mr.  Chapman  knew  a 
great  deal  about  it,  these  men  corroborated  everything  he  had 
before  heard. 

This  'Kalahetlue  grows  wherever  the  grub  is  found.  It  is 
a  tuber,  which  he  discovered  was  the  favourite  food  of  steenboks 
and  duikers ;  the  leaves  are  long,  thick,  narrow,  pulpy,  and 
lanceolate,  with  a  strong  indentation  down  the  middle,  and  in 
colour  a  dull  green.  The  mode,  however,  of  appljdng  this  anti- 
dote seems  still  to  remain  a  secret. 

There  is,  so  Mr.  Chapman  asserts,  a  creeping  tendrilous 
plant,  called  "  eokam  "  by  the  Bushmen,  which  they  consider 
a  specific  against  snake-bites.  It  is  with  the  root  of  this  that 
the  Bushmen  are  said  to  cure  themselves  of  the  most  venomous 
bites.  About  eight  or  ten  grains,  either  eaten  or  taken  as  a 
decoction,  act  as  an  emetic.  The  dose  is  repeated  about  three 
times,  when  the  patient  is  cured.  They  also  tattoo  and  scarify 
their  bodies,  and  make  an  incision  near  the  wound,  which  they 
suck  with  some  of  the  root  chewed  in  their  mouths.    This   is 


evidently  to  prevent  the  poison  from  acting  upon  the  gums  in 
case  of  bleeding.  The  sucking  out  of  the  poison  is  not  neces- 
sary, but  is  done  by  way  of  precaution.  Bushmen  having  a 
piece  of  this  root  strung  among  their  charms  and  medicines 
around  their  necks  "  laugh  at  snake-bites."  But  still  so  difficult 
is  it  to  obtain  information  from  Bushmen  with  regard  to  this 
poison  and  these  antidotes,  that  Mr.  Chapman  states  it  was 
only  after  waiting  ten  years  that  he  succeeded  in  gaining  the 
knowledge  here  detailed,  and  he  considered  it  quite  a  triumph 
that  he  at  last  succeeded  in  extracting  so  much  of  the  secret 
from  them.  He  believes  that  to  become  an  expert  naturalist 
one  ought  to  turn  Bushman  and  conquer  the  language,  when 
one  would  learn  more  about  the  natural  history  of  many  things 
than  from  books  and  years  of  study  and  experiment.  They  live 
and  depend  for  existence  on  animals  and  insects,  and  therefore 
are  obliged  to  know  all  about  their  habits  and  instincts. 

Another  poison  used  by  them  was  extracted  from  the 
Amaryllis  distichia  (Paterson),  which  was  called  "  mal  gift,"  or 
mad  poison,  by  the  Dutch  and  Namaqua  Hottentots,  from  the 
effects  usually  produced  on  the  animals  which  were  wounded 
by  the  weapons  impregnated  with  it.  It  was  thus  prepared : 
the  bulbs  were  dug  up  about  the  time  they  were  putting  out 
their  leaves,  and  cutting  them  transversely,  a  thick  fluid  was 
extracted,  which  was  kept  in  the  sun  until  it  became  quite  of 
the  consistence  of  gum.  It  was  then  kept  fit  for  use,  and  laid 
on  the  arrows  near  the  points.  This  poison  was  used  chiefly  for 
animals  which  were  intended  for  food.  The  milk  of  one  species 
of  euphorbia  was  also  used  both  for  their  arrows  and  for  poison- 
ing water. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  West  used  a  poisonous  insect  for  one  of 
their  most  virulent  preparations.  This  was  the  most  horrid^ 
looking  of  all  the  African  spiders,  commonly  called  the  trap- 
door spider.^  This  appears  to  have  been  pounded  and  mixed 
with  the  extract  of  the  amaryllis. 

1  The  following  anecdote  is  sufficient  to  show  the  venomous  character 
of  this  spider.  Dr.  N.  Rubidge,  F.G.S.,  was  collecting  insects  near  the 
Van  Staade's  river,  Uitenhage,  and  after  having  filled  all  his  boxes,  Jound 
a  very  rare  specimen  of  a  tree  frog  of  a  beautiful  green  colour,  and  for 
want  of  a  better  receptacle  placed  the  captive  in  a  wide-mouthed  pickle- 


The  Bushmen  of  the  East  (the  present  Queenstown  division 
and  beyond)  principally  used  the  venom  of  snakes,  the  milk  of 
the  euphorbia,  and  the  extract  from  the  poison  amaryllis. 

The  poisons  most  relied  on  by  the  Bushmen  of  the  'Nu  'Gariep, 
the  Caledon,  and  the  'Gij  'Gariep  were  the  venom  of  snakes, 
together  with  scorpions  and  spiders  crushed  up,  the  poison 
amaryUis,  and  the  milk  of  a  small  plant  found  growing  in  many 
parts  of  the  Free  State  and  British  Basutoland,  called  Motlatsisa 
by  the  Basutu.  So  poisonous  do  some  of  the  natives  believe  this 
latter  plant  to  be  that  they  refuse  to  touch  it,  lest  any  of  the 
milk  should  get  upon  their  fingers. 

These  Bushmen  adopted  the  following  method  in  the  pre- 
paration of  their  poisons.  A  fiat,  smooth,  stone  was  procured, 
very  similar  to  the  one  used  for  roasting  the  "  ants'  eggs  "  ;  this 
was  placed  on  the  fire,  and  the  milky  juice  of  the  Motlatsisa  or 
of  the  amaryllis  was  set  upon  it.  This  was  then  worked  up  with 
a  wooden  spatula  imtil  it  began  to  attain  a  certain  consistency, 
when  the  venom  of  the  snake  or  other  poisonous  ingredient  was 
gradually  added,  and  the  mixing  continued  until  the  whole  mass 
had  acquired  a  dark  wax-like  appearance,  when  it  was  worked 
up  into  a  lump  and  reserved  for  use.  The  season  for  making 
this  preparation  was  during  the  summer  months.  It  was  kept 
in  a  little  bag  until  required  for  use.  In  employing  it  a  small 
portion  was  placed  upon  a  "  poison-stone,"  and  the  part  of  the 
arrow  to  be  anointed  pressed  upon  it  and  worked  round  and 
round  until  it  had  acquired  the  proper  shape.  It  was  never 
touched  with  the  fingers,  and  great  care  was  taken  that  none 
adhered  to  the  hands  or  nails  during  these  processes. 

bottle.  Shortly  afterwards  he  discovered  one  of  these  spiders  of  large 
size,  which  he  also  consigned  to  the  same  prison.  As  soon  as  the  spider 
reached  the  bottom,  the  frog  seemed  to  recoil  with  horror,  and  pressed 
itself  close  to  the  side  of  the  bottle.  When  the  spider  recovered  it  turned 
upon  its  feUow-captive,  darted  savagely  at  it,  and  gave  it  two  savage  bites 
in  quick  succession.  The  frog,  although  larger  than  the  spider,  did  not 
attempt  to  move.  A  few  seconds  after  it  was  seized  with  trembling, 
followed  by  a  convulsion,  and  it  expired  immediately. 

chapter  V 


There  can  be  no  doubt  that  the  Hfe  of  the  wild  hunters  of  old 
must  have  been  one  which  would  necessarily  tend  to  develop  in 
a  very  high  degree  habits  of  endurance,  and  of  both  bodily  and 
mental  activity  unknown  to  those  whose  occupation  was  con- 
fined principally  to  pastoral  pursuits. 

taution  and  strategy,  coolness  and  presence  of  mind  were 
qualities  which  must  have  been  steadfastly  cultivated  through 
many  generations  to  have  enabled  a  race  like  the  Bushmen  to 
arrive  at  the  degree  of  excellence  which  they  attained,  and 
which  has  made  their  swiftness,  their  keenness  of  sight,  their 
ready  resource  in  cases  of  emergency,  the  marvel  of  all  those 
who  have  taken  the  trouble  to  examine  these  striking  traits  of 
their  characterj 

In  the  days  of  undisturbed  occupation  by  the  early  Bushmen, 
the  country  literally  swarmed  with  game,  both  large  and  small. 
The  Bushmen  state  that  in  the  days  of  their  fathers  a  number 
of  large  animals  lived  in  the  country,  which  afterwards  became 
extinct  and  disappeared  from  the  face  of  the  earth.  Some  of 
these  extinct  species  are  still  to  be  found  depicted  in  their  caves  ; 
and  it  is  certain  that  animals  still  living  had  a  much  wider  dis- 
tribution in  South  Africa  than  they  have  been  known  to  have 
since  the  advent  of  Europeans.  The  gemsbok  {Oryx  capensis) 
was  once  found  on  the  plains  drained  by  the  Zwart  Kei  (t'Nu- 
t'Kay  and  'Neiba),  and  the  giraffe  browsed  on  the  trees  of  the 
Tsomo  and  other  portions  of  the  lower  country  ;  while  pythons 
must  have  been  abundant  along  the  banks  of  the  rivers.  Im- 
mense herds  of  buffalo  must  have  frequented  the  brakes,  and 
thousands  of  elephants  roamed  through  the  forest  glades,  not 
only  of  the  coast  line,  but  also  in  every  other  portion  of  the 

THE    BUSHMEN'S    METHODS    OF    HUNTING       8i 

country  where  a  sufficiency  of  succulent  food  could  be  procured  ; 
while  the  abounding  hippopotami  laved  their  broad  sides  in 
every  deep  pool  to  be  found  throughout  the  land.  Instead  of 
the  deep  chasms  now  found  cutting  through  and  draining  the 
water  from  the  plains,  the  result  of  excessive  sheep-farming, 
chains  of  deep  zeekoegats,  or  hippopotamus'  pools,  occupied 
their  place,  and  wide  spreading  beds  of  reeds  not  only  surrounded 
them,  but  frequently  linked  them  together  in  one  unbroken  line. 
Innumerable  herds  of  gnus,  quaggas,  zebras,  ostriches,  elands, 
and  various  other  antelopes  were  scattered  over  the  plains  in 
countless  myriads.  This  state  of  things  existed  in  many  parts 
of  South  Africa  up  to  the  middle  of  last  century,  and  survived 
to  the  north  of  the  'Nu  'Gariep  until  the  exterminating  fire- 
arms of  the  Griquas  and  the  Dutch  were  introduced. 

In  such  a  country,  and  endowed  with  the  activity  which  it 
is  known  they  possessed,  it  is  not  at  all  likely  that  the  Bushmen 
would  be  the  starving  miserable  people  which  some  have  de- 
lighted to  depict  them,  before  the  stronger  races  invaded  their 
hunting-grounds.  Their  powers  of  vision  were  extraordinary. 
They  were  able  not  only  to  descry,  but  to  describe,  objects  at  a 
distance,  which  were  almost  invisible  to  Europeans  except  with 
the  aid  of  a  telescope.  This  wonderful  keenness  of  sight,  the 
unerring  manner  in  which  they  could  follow  upon  the  trail  of 
either  men  or  animals,  gave  rise  to  a  tradition  among  the  old 
Hottentots  that  there  was  once  a  race  of  men  in  South  Africa 
who,  instead  of  having  eyes  in  their  head,  had  them  placed  in 
their  feet,  so  that  it  was  impossible  for  any  one  to  escape  from 
their  pursuit,  on  account  of  their  quickness  in  discovering  the 

Every  precaution  was  taken  not  to  alarm  the  game  more  than 
possible,  and  for  this  reason  the  Bushmen  as  a  rule  never  drank 
of  the  water  nearest  to  their  cave  or  kraal.  This  was  on  account 
of  the  strong  odour  which  they  always,  from  their  peculiar  habits, 
carried  about  with  them,  and  which  they  would  certainly  leave 
behind  if  they  daily  frequented  the  neighbourhood  of  the  foun- 
tain ;  thus  the  scent  would  frighten  away  the  game,  and  tend  to 
lessen  their  means  of  subsistence.  To  prevent  this,  they  dug 
holes  at  a  distance,  from  which  a  supply  could  be  obtained. 

A  number  of  devices  and  disguises  were  constantly  employed 



by  the  old  hunters  to  facihtate  approach  to  the  objects  of  their 
attack,  'when  taking  the  field  against  the  elephant,  the  hippo- 
potamus, or  rhinoceros,  they  appeared  with  the  head  and  hide 
of  a  hartebeest  over  their  shoulders,  and  whilst  advancing  to- 
wards their  quarry  through  the  long  grass,  would  carefully 
mimic  all  the  actions  of  the  animal  they  wished  to  represent. 
They  appeared  again  in  the  spoils  of  the  blesbok,  with  the  head 
and  wings  of  a  vulture,  the  striped  hide  of  the  zebra,  or  they 
might  be  seen  stalking  in  the  guise  of  an  ostrich.  Sometimes  a 
large  tuft  of  grass  like  an  enormous  rayed  crown  was  tied  round 
their  heads,  and  then  none  but  the  most  practised  eye  could 
detect  anything  besides  a  slight  rustling  in  the  grass  as  they 
stealthily  moved  along^ 

Among  the  various  modes  that  they  adopted  in  watching 
game  or  their  enemies,  without  exposing  themselves  to  view, 
was  to  lie  on  their  backs,  with  their  feet  towards  the  object  they 
wished  to  look  at,  then  throwing  the  head  well  backward,  they 
gradually  raised  it  until  they  could  look  under  their  eyelids, 
just  over  their  cheeks,  in  such  a  manner  as  not  to  expose  the 
forehead  above  the  line  of  sight,  their  nose  alone  being  higher 
than  the  level  of  the  rock  or  grass  over  which  they  were  peering. 
Doubtless  such  a  mode  of  observation  would  be  a  difficult  opera- 
tion to  any  except  an  adept ;  but  they  from  constant  practice 
rendered  themselves  such  proficients  that  they  were  able  to 
descry,  in  this  position,  objects  at  a  considerable  distance  with 
the  greatest  accuracy.  In  this  position  also  the  foot  was  some- 
times used  in  drawing  the  bow,  whenever  they  wished  to  give 
increased  force  and  impetus  to  their  arrows. 

^n  their  paintings  we  constantly  find  both  huntsmen  and 
warriors  using  the  disguises  we  have  here  mentioned.  They  are 
shown  with  the  heads  and  horns  of  various  animals,  or  else  with 
heads  and  beaks  of  different  birds  ;  they  evidently  prided  them-j 
selves  upon  the  correctness  of  the  representation.  These  draw- 
ings would  appear  to  any  one  not  acquainted  with  the  habits 
and  customs  of  this  old  hunter  race  to  be  intended  for  symbohc^ 
or  supernatural  deities,  around  which  some  ancient  myth  was. 

As  it  is  quite  certain  that  the  custom  of  representing  various 
deities  with  the  heads  and  coverings  of  birds  and  animals  must 




Q  S 

'^  I 

o  «> 

.  8 

I  % 






date  back  to  a  very  remote  antiquity,  such  a  misconception 
is  suggestive  that  all  elaborations  of  this  description  had  their 
origin  in  the  fact  that  among  the  primitive  hunter  tribes  dis- 
guises of  this  kind  were  constantly  usedj  and  we  can  easily 
imagine  that  in  those  early  days,  when  all  history  was  mere 
verbal  tradition,  that  any  of  their  number  rendering  themselves 
more  famous  than  their  fellows,  by  their  superior  strategy, 
would  after  they  had  passed  away  have  their  deeds  and  suc- 
cessful daring  recounted  over  and  over  again,  and  that  these 
would  be  handed  down  from  generation  to  generation.  Their 
modes  of  attack,  the  disguises  they  had  worn,  their  appearance 
and  their  arms,  the  great  achievements  they  had  accomplished, 
and  the  mighty  victories  they  had  won,  would  be  again  and 
again  recited. 

According  to  the  descriptive  powers  of  the  ancient  narrator, 
would  the  recital  of  their  prowess  be  more  and  more  elaborated 
and  intensified,  until  the  magnitude  of  their  reported  deeds  would 
be  considered  something  more  than  human,  proving,  as  it  would 
be  said,  the  degeneracy  of  the  men  of  their  race  then  living.  The 
extraneous  disguises  that  they  wore  would  become  identified  with 
their  own  personality,  as  indicating  some  great  attributes  with 
which  the  growing  veneration  of  their  descendants  invested 
them,  until,  in  process  of  time,  their  human  origin  would  be  lost 
in  the  obscurity  of  an  almost  unknown  past,  and;  only  the  dei- 
fied recollections  of  them  would  remain. 

Men  whose  memories  were  capable  of  retaining  the  largest 
amount  of  this  cherished  folk-lore,  who  could  display  the  greatest 
energy  in  its  recital,  would  naturally  be  looked  upon  with  more 
admiration  by  their  fellows  than  others  less  gifted,  while  an 
innate  and  natural  desire  to  still  further  arouse  the  enthusiasm 
of  their  auditors  would  incite  their  vivid  imaginations,  at  each 
declamatory  repetition,  to  wilder  flights  of  rude  oratory,  until 
the  admiration  of  their  hearers  grew  into  awe  ;  and  the  narrators, 
as  a  necessary  sequence,  in  the  course  of  time  were  themselves 
looked  upon  as  men  possessed  of  superior  power,  denied  to  their 
less  gifted  co-patriots,  until  they  became  reverenced  as  the 
special  keepers  of  those  traditions  which  were  ultimately  deemed 
as  possessing  some  mysterious  and  sacred  authority,  thus  giving 
rise  to  the  germ  and  the  development  of  a  priestly  caste. 

84  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

Many,  or  rather  all,  the  Kaffir  tribes,  before  they  came  into 
contact  with  more  civihzed  races,  thought  the  spirits  of  their 
great  chiefs  were  the  paramount  power  of  the  universe.  They 
had  no  ideas  of  a  deity  beyond  this. 

The  Bushman  representations  of  the  disguises  of  their  great 
huntsmen  and  warriors  would  seem  to  point  to  the  true  origin 
of  many  of  the  bull,  eagle,  and  other  headed  divinities,  and  much 
of  the  human  element  which  we  find  introduced  into  ancient  and 
modern  religions.  In  this  progression  from  the  natural  to  the 
supernatural,  the  Bushmen  shew  in  their  paintings  the  earliest 
stages  of  the  process  of  exaltation  ;  while  the  sculptured  and 
pictured  remains  of  the  ancient  Hindus,  the  Assyrians,  and  the 
Egyptians  display,  among  the  other  creeds,  its  highest  elabora- 
tion and  development. 

When  the  Bushmen  wished  to  prevent  the  game  from  passing 
a  certain  line,  and  yet  were  not  numerous  enough  to  form  a 
cordon  along  it,  they  employed  the  device  of  planting  stout 
wands  about  their  own  height,  dressed  with  ostrich  feathers, 
and  a  tuft  of  them  fastened  to  the  top.  These  were  planted  at 
short  distances  from  one  another  along  the  line  they  wished  to 
mark  out.  The  game  appeared  more  terrified  at  sight  of  these 
than  of  the  Bushmen  themselves,  and  generally  rushed  from 
them  in  the  greatest  alarm.  Even  the  lion  himself  very  rarely 
approached  them,  but  would  skulk  away  whenever  possible. 
In  places  where  the  lions  were  more  daring,  a  strong  sharp  point 
■was  made  at  the  end  of  them,  which  was  rendered  still  more 
dangerous  by  being  poisoned  ;  in  later  days  a  small  blade  of  an 
assagai  was  fastened  and  concealed  among  the  feathers,  so  that 
when  the  indignant  animal  sprang  upon  it,  it  was  so  placed  as 
either  to  impale  him  or  inflict  a  deadly  wound  with  its  poisoned 

In  stalking  the  quagga  the  Bushmen  generally  disguised 
themselves  in  skins  of  the  ostrich,  with  a  long  pliant  stick  run 
through  the  neck  to  keep  the  head  erect,  and  which  also  enabled 
them  to  give  it  its  natural  movement  as  they  walked  along. 
Most  of  them  were  very  expert  in  imitating  the  actions  of  the 
living  bird.  When  they  sighted  a  herd  of  quaggas  which  they 
wished  to  attack,  they  did  not  move  directly  towards  them,  but 
leisurely   made   a   circuit   about   them,    gradually   approaching 

THE    BUSHMEN'S    METHODS    OF    HUNTING       85 

nearer  and  nearer.  Whilst  doing  so  the  mock  bird  would  appear 
to  feed  and  pick  at  the  various  bushes  as  it  went  along,  or  rub  its 
head  ever  and  anon  upon  its  feathers,  now  standing  to  gaze,  now 
moving  stealthily  towards  the  game,  until  at  length  the  appar- 
ently friendly  ostrich  appeared,  as  was  its  wont  in  its  natural 
state,  to  be  feeding  among  them. 

Singling  out  his  victim,  the  hunter  let  fly  his  fatal  shaft,  and 
immediately  continued  feeding  ;  the  wounded  animal  sprang 
forward  for  a  short  distance,  the  others  made  a  few  startled 
paces,  but  seeing  nothing  to  alarm  them,  and  only  the  apparently 
friendly  ostrich  quietly  feeding,  they  also  resumed  their  tran- 
quillity, thus  enabling  the  dexterous  huntsman  to  mark  a  second 
head,  if  he  felt  so  inclined. 

But  as  these  primitive  hunters  never  wantonly  slaughtered 
for  the  mere  sake  of  killing  the  game,  hke  those  who  boast  a 
higher  degree  of  civilization,  they  generally  rested  satisfied  with 
securing  such  a  sufficiency  as  would  afford  a  grand  feast  for 
themselves  and  their  families,  quite  content  with  knowing  that 
as  long  as  the  supply  lasted  their  feasting,  dancing,  and  rejoicing 
would  continue  also. 

That  these  huntsmen,  as  long  as  the  game  was  comparatively 
undisturbed,  had  an  abundance  of  food  is  proved  by  the  testi- 
mony of  every  observant  traveller,  some  of  whom  have  also 
noticed  that  the  very  dogs  among  the  Bushmen  were  invariably 
fat  and  in  good  condition,  whereas  among  both  Kaffirs  and 
Hottentots  the  dogs  were  never  more  than  a  pack  of  wretched- 
looking,  half-starved  curs.  Captain  Harris,  who  travelled 
through  the  country  with  the  eye  of  an  intelligent  sportsman, 
is  conclusive  upon  this  subject  :  "  In  many  places,"  he  writes, 
"  the  ground  was  strewn  with  the  blanched  skeletons  of  gnus 
and  other  wild  animals,  which  had  evidently  been  slaughtered 
by  Bushmen,  and  traces  of  these  troglodytes  waxed  hourly  more 
apparent  as  the  country  became  more  inhabitable.  The  base  of 
one  hill,  in  particular,  in  which  some  of  their  caves  were  dis- 
covered, presented  the  appearance  of  a  Golgotha  ;  several  hundred 
gnus  and  bonteboks'  skulls  being  collected  in  a  single  heap." 

As  the  ostrich  was  one  of  the  most  wary  of  the  inhabitants 
of  the  South  African  plains,  the  Bushmen  adopted  several  methods 
of  hunting  it,  but  all  depending  on  imitation  or  strategy. 


Somewhat  allied  to  hunting  was  their  searching  for  bees' 
nests,  and  they  showed  not  only  their  dexterity  in  the  manner 
of  discovering  their  retreats,  but  also  their  daring  in  securing 
this  much  coveted  spoil.  They  would  watch  for  the  laden  bees 
as  they  were  returning  to  their  hives  towards  the  evening,  at 
which  time  they  fly  straight  to  their  habitations  ;  and  with  their 
keenness  of  vision  the  Bushmen  would  be  able  to  detect  the 
direction  which  the  industrious  insects  took.  This  they  would 
follow,  still  watching  for  returning  bees,  until  they  at  last  came 
to  the  spot  where  the  nest  was  hidden.  Should  they  pass  it  in 
their  first  attempt,  they  would  soon  perceive  that  the  bees  were 
coming  from  the  opposite  direction,  when  they  would  try  back 
until  the  place  was  found.  A  beehive  of  this  kind  in  the  moun- 
tains when  once  discovered  became  the  sacred  property  of  the 
finder.  Woe  to  the  man  who  carried  off  the  honey  from  a  marked 
hive,  which  was  usually  distinguished  by  stones  heaped  up  before 
it  as  a  beacon.  There  have  been  instances  where  such  an  en- 
croachment was  punished  with  death. 

They  had  also  a  most  useful  ally  and  assistant  in  carrying 
out  this  work  in  the  honey-bird — the  "  Bee-cuckoo  " — {Cuculus 
indicator),  of  Sparrman,  and  called  "  honing  wijzer,"  the  honey- 
guide,  by  the  Hottentots  and  Dutch.  As  soon  as  a  Bushman 
heard  its  well-known  and  alluring  cry  of  "  cherr,  cherr,  cherr," 
he  was  immediately  on  the  alert,  as  he  knew  by  experience  that 
the  bird  was  desirous  of  attracting  attention.  Finding  that  it 
had  been  successful  in  doing  this,  it  flew  a  short  distance  in 
front,  repeating  the  cry.  As  the  Bushman  followed,  it  again 
went  a  little  farther,  slowly  and  by  degrees  towards  the  quarter 
where  the  swarm  of  bees  had  taken  up  their  abode,  all  the  while 
repeating  its  cry  of  "  cherr,  cherr."  The  Bushman  answered  it 
now  and  then  with  a  low  gentle  whistle,  to  let  the  bird  know 
that  its  call  was  attended  to.  Approaching  the  bees'  nest,  it 
flew  shorter  distances,  and  repeated  its  note  with  greater  earnest- 
ness. On  arriving  at  the  cleft  of  the  rock,  the  hollow  tree,  or 
cavity  in  the  ground,  it  hovered  over  the  spot  for  a  few  seconds, 
and  then  perched  in  silence  on  some  neighbouring  tree  or  bush, 
awaiting  results.  A  small  piece  of  comb  containing  young  bees 
was  generally  left  on  the  ground  as  a  reward  to  the  bird  for  its 
information.     Bushmen  searching  for  honey  say  that  the  bee- 

THE    BUSHMEN'S    METHODS    OF    HUNTING       87 

hunter  must  not  be  too  generous  at  first,  but  merely  give  enough 
to  stimulate  the  bird's  appetite,  when  the  shrewd  little  thing  will 
show  a  second  hive  if  there  be  another  in  the  neighbourhood. 

Up  to  a  few  years  ago,  in  portions  of  the  country  visited  by 
the  writer,  the  miserable  remnant  of  scattered  Bushmen  who 
still  clung  to  the  land  of  their  fathers  returned  regularly  during 
the  summer  to  their  old  haunts,  for  the  purpose  of  examining 
and  taking  as  much  honey  as  they  required  from  the  swarms  of 
bees  which  had  occupied  the  same  hollows  and  crevices  from 
time  immemorial.  On  their  departure  they  always  left  certain 
private  marks  by  which  they  could  at  once  detect  any  attempt 
that  might  be  made  during  their  absence  to  pilfer  from  the  hives, 
which,  they  considered,  had  descended  from  their  ancestors  to 
themselves.  Some  of  these  krantz-nests,  as  they  are  termed, 
were  reached,  as  before  mentioned,  by  a  kind  of  rude  ladder 
formed  of  sharpened  pegs  of  hard  wood  driven  into  the 
cracks  and  crevices  in  the  face  of  the  precipice,  and  often  to 
a  height  that  none  except  Bushmen  or  baboons  would  ever 
have  dreamt  of  climbing  on  such  a  precarious  footing  ;  but  the 
writer  has  been  assured  by  those  who  have  witnessed  them 
that  they  not  only  ascended  without  the  least  hesitation  or 
symptom  of  fear,  but  also  with  a  rapidity  that  was  perfectly 

The  writer  has  seen  the  remains  of  some  of  these  ladders  still 
sticking  in  the  face  of  the  krantz,  in  positions  where,  without 
the  evidence  of  the  projecting  pegs,  it  could  never  have  been 
believed  possible  for  any  human  being  to  have  scaled  and  driven 
in  these  holdfasts  as  he  ascended  to  such  heights  upon  such  a 
perilous  foothold.  In  some  cases,  where  even  they  found  it 
impossible  to  reach  the  spot  from  below,  on  account  of  over- 
hanging rocks,  they  were  frequently  let  down  by  their  com- 
panions, with  a  long  leathern  thong,  from  some  projecting  ledge 
to  the  level  of  the  nest  below,  and  here,  while  dangling  in  mid- 
air, they  would  drive  in  a  line  of  apparently  fragile  wooden  sup- 
ports, and  thus  form  a  sort  of  narrow  platform,  upon  which  they 
could  either  sit  or  stand  whilst  they  abstracted  the  honey  from 
the  nests.  This  was  transferred  to  one  of  their  leathern  sacks, 
made  of  the  skin  of  an  antelope  which  had  been  flayed  without 
any  incision  being  made  along  the  belly.    The  bags  as  they  were 

88  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

filled  were  let  down  by  another  thong  to  the  foot  of  the  precipice, 
where  another  Bushman  was  in  waiting  to  receive  them. 

In  1870  there  was  still  a  small  platform  of  this  kind  to  be  seen 
just  under  a  bees'  nest  in  the  face  of  a  precipice  above  the  open- 
ing of  Madolo's  cave,  the  Cave  of  the  Python,  on  the  Zwart  Kei. 
This  was  still  visited  every  year  by  a  small  party  of  Bushmen, 
who  up  to  that  time  had  sheltered  themselves  in  some  of  the 
fastnesses  of  the  Great  Kei,  in  their  annual  rounds,  when  they 
let  themselves  down  in  the  manner  described  to  secure  their 
harvest  of  honey. 

One  of  the  disguises  very  frequently  used  by  the  Bushmen, 
both  in  attacking  an  enemy  and  stalking  game,  was  to  bind  a 
large  tuft  of  long  grass  round  their  heads  with  a  band,  the  ends 
of  the  grass  covering  not  only  their  foreheads,  but  forming  a 
mask  for  their  faces,  leaving  only  apertures  through  which  they 
could  look.  In  this  manner  they  could  gently  raise  their  heads 
and  securely  survey  from  among  the  tall  grass  whatever 
might  be  approaching,  without  fear  of  being  discovered  when 
moving  from  one  position  to  another.  They  could  rapidly 
wriggle  along,  with  a  snake-like  movement  on  the  ground,  until 
they  again  raised  their  heads  to  see  what  progress  they  were 
making  and  the  position  of  the  game  or  their  foe.  Thus  pre- 
pared, they  would  with  great  coolness  and  daring  approach, 
totally  unperceived  and  unexpected,  within  a  very  short  distance 
of  their  enemies,  and  there  remain  watching  their  movements 
until  a  favourable  opportunity  presented  itself  of  making  an 

When  it  was  their  intention  of  attacking  under  such  dis- 
guises, they  generally  divided  themselves  into  two  parties,  one 
remaining  out  of  sight  at  a  distance  until  they  knew  that  those 
advancing  under  cover  of  the  tufted  grass  had  attained  their 
appointed  position.  The  reserve  party  would  then  make  their 
appearance  at  a  considerable  distance,  and  would  commence 
endeavouring  to  draw  their  opponents  towards  the  ambuscade, 
by  flying  long  shots  at  them.  In  all  probability  their  enemies,, 
supposing  that  the  only  party  of  Bushmen  attacking  was  that 
in  front  of  them,  would  freely  expose  themselves  in  the  attempt 
to  drive  them  off,  until  on  a  sudden  they  found  themselves 
assailed  almost  at  close  quarters  with  sharp  flights  of  poisoned 

THE    BUSHMEN'S    METHODS    OF    HUNTING        89 

arrows,  whizzing  apparently  from  what  seemed  to  be  merely  the 
long  grass  around  them. 

Although  the  great  plains  and  many  other  places  were  fre- 
quently so  infested  with  lions,  that  they  were  met  with  hunting 
about  the  country  in  packs  of  eight  and  ten  together,  and  it 
would  have  been  dangerous  for  others  to  traverse  them,  yet  the 
little  Bushmen  were  able  to  do  so  with  impunity.  It  has  been 
already  pointed  out  that  many  of  the  small  clans  spent  their 
lives  in  the  midst  of  these  wilds,  with  no  other  protection  at 
night  than  their  frail  mat-huts,  and  yet,  notwithstanding  this, 
they  slept  in  security,  whereas  multitudes  of  fugitives  who  fled 
into  their  country  at  various  times  were  devoured  when  attempt- 
ing to  sleep  in  the  same  exposed  situations.  It  is  said  that  the 
safety  of  the  Bushmen  depended  upon  a  certain  powder,  long 
kept  as  a  most  profound  secret,  which  they  sprinkled  at  night 
upon  their  camp  fires,  and  to  which  the  lions  showed  such  an 
antipathy  that  they  would  not  approach  the  spot.  The  writer 
has  been  assured  that  this  powder  was  composed  of  the  spores 
of  a  peculiar  fungoid  plant,  which  grows  exclusively  upon  the 
ant-hiUs  of  the  country. 

Daring  as  the  Bushmen  were  in  their  attacks  upon  the  lion, 
they  were  very  cautious  in  their  attacks  upon  the  wild  boar  (Sus 
larvatus,  Harris).  "  We  would  rather  attack  a  lion  on  the 
plain,"  so  they  informed  Sparrman,  "  than  an  African  wild  boar  ; 
for  this,  though  much  smaller,  comes  rushing  on  a  man  as  swift 
as  an  arrow,  and,  throwing  him  down,  snaps  his  legs  in  two  and 
rips  up  his  belly  before  he  can  strike  it  and  kill  it."  The  lions, 
on  the  contrary,  seemed  to  have  a  dread  of  the  Bushmen.  When 
the  latter  discovered  evidence  that  one  of  these  beasts  had  made 
a  full  meal,  they  followed  up  his  spoor  so  quietly  that  his  slumbers 
were  not  disturbed.  One  of  them  then  discharged  a  poisoned 
arrow  at  the  savage  sleeper  from  a  distance  of  a  few  feet,  while 
another  threw  his  kaross  over  the  animal's  head.  The  surprise 
caused  the  lion  to  lose  his  presence  of  mind,  and  he  bounded 
away  in  terror.  In  a  short  time  the  effects  of  the  poison  on  the 
lion  were  terrible,  and  he  was  heard  moaning  in  distress,  while 
he  bit  the  trees  and  ground  in  his  agony  and  fury. 

In  hunting  the  larger  game,  such  as  the  hippopotamus,  the 
elephant,  and    the    rhinoceros,  three    methodsj  were  employed. 


The  first  was  by  attacking  them  openly  with  their  arrows  and 
<iarts,  when  'the  animal  was  assailed  on  every  side  until  it  sank 
from  its  wounds,  or  it  was  disabled  by  being  hamstrung,  the 
tendons  of  its  legs  being  severed  by  one  of  their  large  stone- 
headed  harpoons. 

•a  second  method  was  catching  them  in  pitfalls,  and  a  third 
by  constructing  a  trap,  which  has  been  called  "  the  harpoon- 
■trap."  Pitfalls  were  at  one  time  found  along  the  banks  of  every 
stream  and  around  almost  every  large  pool  in  the  country,  and 
in  many  of  the  bush  paths  made  by  the  wild  animals^ 

Some  of  the  tribes,  where  wood  was  procurable,  made  long 
fences,  fiUing  up  the  open  spaces  so  that  the  only  passages  were 
those  which  were  occupied  by  these  treacherous  traps,  others 
again,  where  trees  were  scarce,  erected  long  stone  fences  for  the 
:same  purpose.  Some  of  these  were  of  such  great  length  that 
after  the  tribes  were  broken  up  and  they  became  a  race  of  fugi- 
tives, travellers  who  saw  them  believed  that  works  which  dis- 
played so  much  labour  and  perseverance  could  have  only  been 
accomplished  by  some  pre-Bushman  people.  In  later  years  the 
most  extensive  series  of  these  works  were  found  along  the  banks 
<of  such  rivers  as  Zak  River,  Beer's  Vley,  the  'Nu  'Gariep,  Caledon, 
Gumaap,  'Gij  'Gariep,  Kolong,  and  their  tributaries.  In  1801, 
along  the  valley  of  the  'Gariep  or  Great  river,  pitfalls,  with 
isharp  stakes  of  hard  wood  in  the  bottom,  and  covered  with 
jgrass,  were  numerous  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  river.  The 
points  of  these  stakes  were  frequently  poisoned.  The  spaces 
between  the  several  holes  were  obstructed  with  fences,  and  thus 
the  deer  coming  to  the  river  for  water,  by  striving  to  avoid  the 
fences,  fell  into  the  pitfalls. 

At  the  time  of  Governor  Van  Plettenberg's  visit  to  the  Bush- 
man country  on  the  northern  frontier.  Colonel  Gordon,  who 
accompanied  him,  narrowly  escaped  with  his  life,  by  being  pre- 
cipitated with  his  horse  into  one  of  these  small  abysses.  They 
•were  even  to  be  found  in  the  country  which  was  said  by  the 
friends  of  the  Griquas  to  have  been  uninhabited  when  they  first 
took  possession.  In  1820,  at  the  time  of  Mr.  Campbell's  second 
visit,  although  the  game  had  then  become  very  scarce  owing  to 
the  increase  of  muskets  among  the  Griquas,  a  number  of  pitfalls 
-were  yet  to  be  found  at  Kogelbeen  Fontein  and  other  places 


beyond  Griquatown,  which  had  been  dug  by  the  Bushmen  for 
catching  game.  These  were  so  spread  round  the  pools  that  it 
made  it  hazardous  to  approach  them  in  the  dark. 

Some  of  the  large  pitfalls  intended  for  catching  hippopotami 
were  nine  feet  deep  and  proportionately  large  at  the  top.  The 
labour,  therefore,  of  making  a  number  of  such  excavations  with 
an  implement  of  so  primitive  a  description  as  the  'kibi  must  have 
been  immense.  The  capture  of  a  hippopotamus  was  the  signal  for 
feasting  for  the  whole  tribe,  and  nothing  but  gormandizing, 
dancing,  and  boisterous  revelry  continued  as  long  as  the  supply 

The  exaggerated  expressions  of  triumph  employed  by  some 
of  the  Bushmen  on  returning  from  a  successful  hunt,  either  with 
their  bows  or  the  pitfall,  showed  the  intense  and  somewhat 
extravagant  joy  with  which  they  contemplated  such  an  approach- 
ing feast,  which  may  have  followed  after  one  of  their  enforced 
periods  of  fasting.  This  feeling  was  well  illustrated  in  the 
hyperbolic  address  made  by  a  successful  Bushman  on  his  return 
to  the  waggons  of  the  traveller  Baines,  after  making  a  few  success- 
ful shots.  "  Behold  me  !  "  he  shouted,  "  the  hunter  !  Yea, 
look  on  me,  the  killer  of  elephants  and  mighty  bulls  !  Behold 
me  the  Big  Elephant  !  the  Lion  !  Look  on  me,  ye  Damaras  and 
Makalaka  !     Admire  and  confess  that  I  am  a  great  bull-calf  !  " 

It  was  this  same  feeling  which  made  the  Bushmen,  before 
they  were  driven  from  their  country  with  such  inhuman  bar- 
barity, welcome  any  party  of  hunters  that  came  amongst  them 
merely  for  that  purpose.  Thus  it  was  when  Messrs.  Chapman 
and  Baines  passed  one  of  their  Kalahari  villages,  that  the  whole 
female  community  ran  out  after  them  in  all  possible  stages  of 
dress  and  undress,  joyfully  clapping  their  hands  and  singing  the 
praises  of  the  "  flesh-givers  "  who  had  made  them  thick  and 
sleek.  And  it  was  not  long  before  the  greater  number  of  them, 
laden  with  their  household  gear,  took  the  road  ahead  of  the 
hunting  party,  with  the  intention  of  keeping  company  to  the 
next  water. 

Nor  did  hippopotami  and  antelopes  alone  fall  into  these 
treacherous  pits  ;  the  lion,  with  all  his  activity  and  strength, 
has  been  found  impaled  in  them,  and  even  the  wary  and  prudent 
elephant  thus  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Bushmen.    These  animals 

92  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

with  their  superior  sagacity  have  been  known  to  attempt  to 
assist  their  unfortunate  companion  out  of  his  difficulty  by  aiding 
him  with  their  trunks,  and  cases  are  upon  record  where  they 
have  succeeded  in  doing  so  when  the  animal  has  been  young. 

The  third  method  employed  by  Bushmen  for  capturing  large 
game,  such  as  the  hippopotamus,  was  that  which  has  been  called 
the  harpoon  trap.  This  ingenious  contrivance  consisted  of  a 
great  block  of  wood,  to  which  a  poisoned  blade  was  attached, 
which  was  suspended  by  a  line  over  a  bough  that  hung  immedi- 
ately over  one  of  the  foot-paths  used  by  the  animals  on  leaving 
the  water  ;  the  line  was  brought  down  and  so  placed  across  the 
path  that  when  the  victim  struck  his  foot  against  it,  it  set  loose 
the  great  block  immediately  above  him,  which  falling  with  its 
weight  and  impetus  drove  the  poisoned  barb  deep  into  its  flesh. 
Some  of  the  Bachoana  adopted  a  similar  method  for  entrapping 
these  great  brutes,  but  it  is  probable  that  in  this,  as  in  so  many 
other  methods  which  they  employed  in  securing  game,  they 
have  merely  imitated  the  plans  of  the  older  race  of  hunters. 

The  Bushmen  on  some  occasions,  in  order  to  ensure  a  supply 
of  food,  resorted  to  the  expedient  of  poisoning  the  water  of  some 
of  the  drinking  places.  The  substances  principally  used  were 
the  bulbs  of  the  poisonous  Amaryllis  and  branches  of  the  tree 
Euphorbia,  the  latter  when  procurable  appearing  to  be  the  most 
powerful.  These  poisons  were  also  more  fatal  in  their  action 
upon  some  animals  than  others.  This  practice  proved  an 
additional  danger  to  travellers  who  were  unacquainted  with  the 
circumstance,  though  the  natives  generally  used  the  precaution 
of  leading  off  the  water  which  was  to  be  poisoned  to  a  small 
drain,  covering  up  the  principal  fountain. 

The  Bushmen  had  discovered  several  methods  of  capturing 
fish.  One  of  these  was  that  in  which  the  national  weapon  was 
employed.  The  shaft  was  fastened  to  a  long  light  line,  and  was 
used  to  strike  the  smaller  sized  fish  as  they  came  near  the  surface, 
when  their  dexterity  in  the  use  of  the  bow  enabled  them  to  ply 
their  arrows  with  wonderful  precision  and  success.  For  the 
larger  fish  the  harpoon,  such  as  we  have  already  described,  was 
used  with  a  certainty  of  capture  which  astonished  all  those  who 
were  fortunate  enough  to  witness  these  piscatory  exploits. 

A  third,  and  equally  ingenious  device,  was  in  the  employment 

THE    BUSHMEN'S    METHODS    OF    HUNTING        93 

of  fish-baskets,  which  have  been  called  by  some,  as  they  answered 
the  same  purpose,  Bushman  fishing-nets.  They  were  constructed 
upon  the  same  principle  as  the  eel-baskets  of  Europe.  They 
were  about  six  feet  long,  and  from  one  and  a  half  to  two  feet  in 
diameter.  Their  manufacture  displayed  a  wonderful  amount 
of  neatness  and  ingenuity.  They  were  composed  of  reeds  and 
twigs  of  the  taaibosch,  a  wood  noted  for  its  toughness,  placed 
alternately  side  by  side,  so  that  this  alternation  of  dark  and 
light  bars  gave  the  structure  a  pretty  appearance.  They  were 
bound  together  with  cord  made  either  of  bruised  rushes  or  inner 
bark  of  the  mimosa.  These  were  placed  at  intervals  in  proper 
positions  along  the  reedy  margins  of  the  rivers,  and  near  passages 
through  which  at  certain  seasons  of  the  year  the  fish  passed  in 
great  numbers,  when  ascending  the  streams  before  the  spawning 
and  rainy  season.  Similar  to  the  fences  so  frequently  placed 
between  the  spaces  of  the  pitfalls,  the  reeds  and  rushes  were  so 
interlaced  as  to  form  a  net-work  which  prevented  the  fish  from 
passing  in  any  other  direction  than  through  the  openings  left  for 
baskets,  to  which  they  were  further  directed  by  the  erection  of 
small  weirs,  built  of  stones,  leading  to  them.  The  quantity  of 
fish  caught  in  this  manner  was  sometimes  very  considerable,  and 
added  much  to  the  f eastings  of  the  old  Bushman  race. 

A  plan  identical  with  the  above  appears  to  have  been  adopted 
by  the  natives  living  on  the  banks  of  the  Albert  Nyanza.  Sir 
Samuel  Baker  states  that  he  went  to  the  water  side  to  examine 
the  fishing  arrangements,  which  were  on  an  extensive  scale. 
"  For  many  hundred  feet  the  edges  of  the  floating  reeds  were 
arranged  to  prevent  the  possibility  of  a  large  fish  entering  the 
open  water  adjoining  the  shore  without  being  trapped.  Baskets 
were  fixed  at  intervals,  with  guiding  fences  to  their  mouths. 
Each  basket  was  about  six  feet  in  diameter,  and  the  mouth  about 
eighteen  inches." 

This  remarkable  identity  between  the  methods  adopted  by 
wild  tribes  so  widely  separated  as  the  banks  of  the  Albert  Nyanza 
and  those  of  the  'Nu  and  'Gij  'Gariep  is  particularly  interesting, 
and  would  seem  to  indicate  that,  as  they  are  strikingly  identical 
in  every  detail,  the  palm  of  invention  must  be  awarded  to  the 
more  primitive  hunter  race,  which  carried  its  discovery  along 
with  it  in  its  southern  migration,  and  that  those  farther  to  the 


north  are  mere  copyists,  having  possibly  acquired  their  know- 
ledge from  some  of  the  scattered  remnants  of  the  rear-guard  of 
the  former,  who  were  cut  off  in  their  retreat  by  the  intervention 
of  the  stronger  races. 

chapter  VI 


It  win  be  well  now  to  describe  the  social  customs  of  the  Bushmen^ 
such  as  may  be  included  under  the  following  heads  : — 

1.  Marriage, 

2.  Games, 

3.  Music  and  Musical  Instruments, 

4.  Dances, 

5.  Burial,  heaps  of  stones,  and  some  of  their  beliefs. 

I.  Marriage. 

From  the  evidence  we  can  gather  upon  this  subject,  it  would 
appear  that  there  was  no  uniform  custom  with  regard  to  either 
marriage  or  polygamy  which  governed  the  Bushman  race,  but 
that  the  different  tribes  were  each  ruled  by  the  more  or  less 
primitive  ideas  which  they  severally  entertained.  No  degrees 
of  relationship  appear  to  have  barred  unions  of  this  description, 
except  those  of  parent  and  child,  brother  and  sister,  although 
it  has  been  declared  that  among  some  of  the  isolated  clans  evert 
this  restriction  did  not  exist.  It  is  said  that  owing  to  the  extreme 
jealousy  and  passionate  disposition  of  the  women,  some  of  the 
tribes  never  took  more  than  one  wife  ;  but  it  is  certain  that 
among  the  greater  portion  of  them  a  pluraHty  of  wives  was 
allowed,  the  number  being  mainly  regulated  by  the  force  of 
circumstances,  such  as  the  abundance  or  otherwise  of  food,  the 
position  and  influence  of  the  man,  and  his  power  of  attaching  a 
number  of  women  to  himself.  The  young  men  frequently  con- 
tented themselves  with  one,  while  few  of  middle  age  had  less  thaa 
two,  a  young  and  an  old  one. 

The  tie  could  be  dissolved  whenever  the  incompatibility  of 
the  pair  became  insupportable,  and  women  sometimes  deserted 

96  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

their  husbands  for  a  more  alluring  mate,  but  in  such  cases 
vengeance  often  fell  upon  the  head  of  the  abductor. 

With  regard  to  marriage  ceremonies,  they  were  generally  no 
■other  than  such  as  were  inevitably  necessary  and  agreeable  to 
nature,  viz.  the  consent  of  the  parties. 

Miss  Lemue  writes,'  "  Their  marriage  is  not  a  bargain,  like 
those  which  take  place  among  the  other  native  races,  but  a 
fight.  When  the  young  people  have  settled  it  between  them- 
selves, they  tell  the  parents,  who  fix  a  day  for  the  marriage. 
The  Bushmen  then  come  from  everywhere,  and  bring  as  much 
meat  as  they  can  get.  The  women  smear  themselves  with  red 
clay  and  put  on  their  beads,  when  they  all  eat  and  are  jolly.  In 
the  middle  of  this  feast  the  young  man  catches  hold  of  his  bride ; 
her  relations  at  once  set  on  him  with  their  '  kibis,'  or  digging 
sticks,  and  beat  him  on  the  head  and  ever5rwhere  ;  aU  the  Bush- 
men then  begin  to  fight  together,  during  which  the  young  fellow 
must  hold  his  bride  fast  and  receive  all  the  hammering  they 
choose  to  give  him,  without  letting  his  treasure  escape  ;  if  he  can 
hold  out  they  at  length  leave  him,  and  he  is  a  married  man ;  if 
not,  and  his  charmer  escapes  from  him,  he  will  have  to  undergo 
a  second  ordeal  some  other  time  before  he  can  again  claim  her." 

According  to  M.  Arbousset,  adultery  was  less  common  amongst 
the  Bushmen  with  whom  he  was  acquainted  than  amongst  any 
other  natives  of  the  country.  It  appears  certain,  however,  that 
all  their  quarrels  which  did  not  originate  from  trespass  upon  one 
another's  hunting  grounds  arose  about  their  women,  the  greater 
portion  considering  it  "  great  fun  "  to  inveigle  away  one  another's 

It  is  very  probable  that  they  were  similar  to  the  old  Koranas 
in  this  respect.  The  writer  has  been  assured  by  some  of  the 
ancients  of  the  latter  people  that  they  did  noHbeUeve  there  was 
a  single  Korana  woman  who  had  not  a  favourite  lover,  besides 
ber  husband.  And  the  strangest  feature  in  the  case  appeared 
to  be  that,  although  the  inamorato  was  known  to  all  the  kraal, 
the  husband  was  the  only  one  who  was  kept  in  profound  ignor- 
ance of  his  favoured  rival.  This  fact  shows  the  universality  of 
the  custom,  for  as  soon  as  the  husband  was  absent  from  the  kraal, 

1  Notes  of  Charles  S.  Orpen  ;  Memoir  of  Miss  L.  E.  Lemite,  "  upon  Bush- 


the  whole  of  the  community  at  once  resolved  themselves  into 
a  kind  of  guard  of  vigilance  to  prevent  surprise,  while  the  lovers 
could  indulge  in  their  stolen  interviews  without  fear  of  interrup- 
tion. Should  the  husband  be  seen  unexpectedly  returning, 
some  met  him  to  attract  his  attention  and  delay  his  progress, 
while  others  hastened  to  warn  the  faithless  pair  of  the  approach- 
ing danger  ;  and  yet  these  husbands,  who  assisted  in  thus  hood- 
winking one  unfortunate  and  knew  every  other  woman  was 
frail,  frequently  had  the  infatuation  to  believe  that  their  own 
wives  were  vestals.  Thus  it  was  that,  should  the  amour  of  the 
wife  be  discovered  by  any  unlucky  chance,  the  enraged  husband 
frequently  inflicted  condign  punishment  upon  her  gallant. 

Thus  among  the  wide-spread  Bushman  tribes  different  stages 
in  the  development  of  the  marriage  tie  were  to  be  found,  from 
that  most  primitive  form  of  simply  pairing  by  mutual  consent, 
to  an  elaborate  contest,  when  on  a  fixed  wedding-day  the  endur- 
ance and  sincerity  of  the  bridegroom  were  tested  to  the  utter- 
most ;  while  we  must  at  the  same  time  be  struck  with  the 
consideration  which  these  so-called  untamable  savages  evinced 
towards  the  widows  found  in  their  community.  No  piece  of 
game  was  ever  eaten  without  their  receiving  a  share. 

2.  Games. 

At  one  time,  in  the  days  of  their  prosperity,  the  Bushmen 
had  many  games,  in  which  they  indulged  in  their  leisure  hours 
to  diversify  the  dance.  Some  of  these  pastimes  were  intended 
for  the  da3d:ime,  others  again  were  set  apart  for  the  evening. 
Most  of  them,  however,  are  now  lost,  although  there  are  still 
enough  rescued  from  oblivion  to  show  that  they  might  be  divided 
into  three  classes,  of  which  the  following  may  be  given  as  illustra- 
tive specimens  : — 

I.  The  'Nadro,  or  disguise.  They  appeared  to  have  had 
an  almost  passionate  fondness  for  dressing  themselves  up  in 
masquerading  fashion,  in  the  guise  of  some  animal  or  other,  so 
that  it  was  not  only  in  hunting  and  war  that  they  simulated  the 
wild  animals  by  which  they  were  surrounded,  but  even  in  their 
amusements,  their  games,  and  dances. 

One  of  the  latter  kind,  the  most  popular  and  frequently 

98  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

resorted  to,  was  that  in  which  the  older  women  of  the  horde 
indulged,  and  which  was  specially  called  'Nadro.  They  dis- 
guised themselves  by  fastening  the  head  and  horns  of  some  wild 
animal  upon  their  own,  and  so  painting  and  enveloping  the  rest 
of  their  body  in  the  hide  of  the  beast,  that  they  looked  more  like 
some  wild  or  supernatural  monster  than  a  human  being.  Figures 
of  this  kind  were  frequently  represented  in  their  paintings,  which 
have  led  some  to  imagine  that  they  were  representations  of 
supernatural  personages  who  shadowed  forth  an  ancient  tribal 
myth.  That  such  may  have  been  the  case  with  some  of  them 
is  undoubted,  but  it  is  equally  certain  that  the  old  Bushmen 
who  inhabited  the  rock-shelters  containing  the  cave-paintings 
in  question  have  been  unanimous  in  asserting  that  it  was  the 
'Nadro  alone  which  was  there  represented.  The  painting  was 
originally  intended  to  be  a  matter-of-fact  delineation  of  the 
leading  figure  in  a  game,  to  which  some  m5rthological  interpreta- 
tion has  afterwards  been  given. 

This  particular  disguise  was  generally  adopted  in  the  evening, 
when  one  so  dressed  and  carrying  a  small  stick  with  which  to 
make  a  rattling  noise,  would  suddenly  and  unexpectedly  come 
upon  the  assembled  group  of  the  horde,  which  always  had  the 
effect  of  startling  the  yoimger  people,  while  even  the  old  members 
would  in  the  first  impulse  of  the  moment  get  out  of  the  way  of 
the  rather  unearthly  looking  apparition  with  no  small  degree  of 
trepidation.  As  the  alarm  subsided,  it  was  succeeded  by  bursts 
of  merriment  at  the  consternation  and  confusion  which  had  been 
occasioned.  They  also  disguised  themselves  in  the  same  manner 
in  some  of  their  grand  masquerade  dances,  when  each  impersonated 
some  different  animal  and  acted  his  or  her  part  accordingly. 

II.  Other  games  were  such  as  required  both  skill  and  presence 
of  mind,  and  were  generally,  if  not  exclusively,  manly  games. 
One  of  these  might  be  termed  the  training  game,  although  only 
experts  would  dare  to  join  in  it.  All  who  have  witnessed  the 
Bushmen  use  their  apparently  fragile  weapons  have  expressed 
astonishment  at  the  dexterity  with  which  they  handle  them,  as 
well  as  the  certainty  of  their  aim  and  the  rapidity  with  which 
one  arrow  is  sped  after  the  other.-  They  were  not  only  true  in 
their  aim,  but  they  were  equally  dexterous    in    avoiding   any 


hostile  shafts  that  were  launched  at  them.  The  game  in  question 
would  therefore  seem  to  be  intended  as  a  necessary  training  to 
enable  these  warrior-huntsmen  to  attain  the  desired  degree  of 
proficiency  in  this  latter  particular. 

Two  Bushmen,  each  with  a  certain  number  of  arrows,  would 
take  up  a  standing,  sitting,  or  l5dng  position  opposite  to  one 
another,  and  then  at  a  given  signal  let  fly  at  one  another,  one 
after  the  other,  with  as  great  rapidity  as  possible,  each  with 
equal  rapidity  trying  to  avoid  the  shafts  of  his  opponent.  Some- 
times the  arrows  were  arranged  in  a  row  before  them,  or,  as  worn 
in  war  or  hunting,  in  a  fillet  bound  round  the  head.  The  younger 
and  more  inexperienced  were  matched  one  against  the  other, 
whilst  the  oldest  and  most  proficient  members  of  the  tribe  would 
try  their  skill  upon  one  another. 

When  we  consider  that  this  game  was  played,  not  like  some 
modem  tournaments  with  half  severed  and  mock  lances,  but 
with  genuine  poisoned  arrows,  we  may  form  some  idea  of  the 
peril  which  accompanied  it.  Every  Bushman  engaging  in  it  was 
furnished  not  only  with  his  bow  and  arrows,  but  also  a  kind  of 
small  horn  bottle  slung  at  his  belt,  in  which  he  carried  a  powerful 
remedy  against  any  unfortunate  wound  he  might  receive  in  the 
friendly  encoimter. 

During  the  trial  of  the  younger  ones,  one  or  other  was 
occasionally  struck  by  an  arrow,  when  some  of  the  antidote  was 
immediately  swallowed.  An  accident  of  this  kind  never  occurred 
when  the  more  experienced  Bushmen  encountered  one  another. 
Sometimes  they  sat  upon  the  ground  opposite  to  each  other,  and 
then  with  the  greatest  coolness  a  simple  inclination  of  the  head, 
or  a  rapid  twist  of  the  body,  enabled  them  to  avoid  the  well 
aimed  shaft  launched  against  them,  and  which  in  all  probability 
passed  within  an  inch  or  two  of  their  bodies.  At  other  times 
they  were  ever  on  the  move,  now  springing  on  this  side,  now  on 
the  other,  now  prostrate  on  the  ground,  now  leaping  from  it  on 
aU-fours  with  extended  arms  and  legs  high  into  the  air,  with  aU 
the  agility  of  an  excited  baboon  that  would  avoid  the  unpleasant 
missiles  that  are  thrown  at  it. 

This  was  a  favourite  game  among  them,  and  from  being 
looked  upon  as  a  proof  of  vigorous  manhood,  was  frequently 
depicted  by  their  artists  among  their  cave  paintings. 


in.  A  third  class  of  games  also  showed  skill,  but  in  these  it 
was  accompanied  with  a  certain  amomit  of  legerdemain.  One 
of  these  became  so  universally  popular  that  it  has  been  adopted 
and  perpetuated  among  other  tribes,  by  whom  it  is  known  as 
Bushman  cards. 

Sparrman  saw  them  playing  this  game  about  1775  in  the 
Zuurveld,  and  the  writer  during  the  time  he  was  engaged  in  the 
geological  survey  of  the  Orange  Free  State  in  1877-8  saw  some 
of  his  attendants  amusing  themselves  round  their  evening  camp- 
fires  with  the  identical  pastime.  Sparrman  calls  it  a  peculiar 
game,  which  was  played  not  only  by  these  people  but  the  Hotten- 
tots also.  "  Two  or  four  sit  on  their  hams,  facing  each  other. 
The  game  always  appears  to  be  played  with  ardour,  and  seems 
to  consist  of  an  incessant  motion  of  the  arms  upwards,  down- 
wards, and  across  each  other's  arms,  without  seeming  (at  least 
on  purpose)  to  touch  one  another ;  they  appear  in  certain 
circumstances  mutually  to  get  the  advantage  over  each  other, 
as  each  of  them  at  times  would  hold  a  little  peg  between  his 
forefinger  and  thumb,  at  which  they  would  burst  out  into 
laughter,  and  on  being  asked  the  reason  said  they  lost  and  won 
by  turns.  One  grew  weary  after  playing  two  hours,  others  kept 
•  on  the  sport  from  evening  untU  break  of  day,  during  the  whole 
time  continually  pronouncing,  or  rather  singing,  the  following 
words,  ^Hei  pruah  pr'hari'ka,  'hei  fruah  fhei,  'hei  pruah  'ha. 
Of  the  words  they  did  not  know  the  meaning,  but  said  that 
some  of  their  tribe,  together  with  the  game,  had  learnt  them  from 
the  tribes  a  great  way  to  the  north."  ^ 

M.  Arbousset,  who  saw  some  Basutus  playing  this  game  in 
1836,  gives  the  following  explanation.  "  Two  or  three  people 
sit  side  by  side  or  opposite  each  other,  one  of  them  picks  up  a 
stone, or  small  piece  of  wood,  all  move  their  arms  about  in  an 
excited  manner,  the  one  with  the  small  piece  of  wood  passing 
it  with  as  much  rapidity  as  possible  from  one  hand  to  the  other, ' 
so  as  to  bewilder  the  other  players,  and  then  presents  his  clenched 
hands  to  his  companions  to  guess  where  the  wood  is.  If  the 
guesser  is  mistaken,  the  holder  of  the  wood  exclaims  triumphantly, 

1  A  game  very  similar  to  Bushman  Cards  appears  to  have  been  played 
by  the  ancient  Egyptians  ;  and  is  represented  in  paintings,  a  copy  of 
which  will  be  found  in  Sir  J.  Gardner  Wilkinson's  Egyptians,  p.  17. 


'  Ua  ya  incha,  kia  ya  khomo,'  in  a  kind  of  song  or  cadence, 
meaning,  '  You  eat  the  dog,  I  eat  the  beef.'  In  the  opposite 
case,  the  player  declares  himself  vanquished,  when  the  guesser 
touches  the  hand  ^containing  the  wood,  sajdng  '  Kia  ya  incha, 
ua  ya  khomo,'  '  I  eat^  the  dog,  you  eat  the  beef,'  and  delivers 
the  wood  to  his  companion  to  do  the  same.  The  players 
will  sometimes  keep  up  this  game  for  hours  at  their  evening 

It  wiU  be  observed  that  the  rhythm  of  the  iwo  sentences  given 
by  Sparrman  and  Arbousset  is  very  similar,  great  stress  being 
laid  upon  the  penultimate  syllable  ;  and  it  is  highly  probable 
that  the  meaning  of  both  is  very  much  ahke.  That  heard  by 
Sparrman  was  probably  a  corruption  of  the  language  of  the 
northern  Bushmen,  of  which  the  players,  although  they  had 
retained  the  cadence,  did  not  know  the  meaning.  This  would 
be  a  case  exactly  similar  to  that  which  came  under  the  writer's 
own  observation.  Among  his  attendants  he  had  a  tame  Bush- 
man, who  had  never  learnt  the  language  of  his  fathers,  and  a 
Motaung.  These  two  would  play  at  this  game  for  hours  almost 
every  evening  ;  they  used  two  sentences,  which  sounded  like  . 
corrupted  Bushman.  The  rhythm  was  exactly  similar  to  that 
given  by  M.  Arbousset,  whUe  the  cadence  might  be  rendered  by 
the  following  notes  : — 

D.  C.  ad  lib. 

_    .   /     ^  f     p 


-^    d     w- 

"^^     '  '    '     ;^=E^=H->P^=^E^^ 

When  asked  the  meaning  of  the  words  they  used,  both  said 
they  could  not  tell,  but  it  was  said  they  were  Bushman.  As  a 
pleasing  coincidence,  whilst  in  the  conquered  territory  of  the 
Orange  Free  State,  the  writer  found  in  two  widely  separated 
caves  pictorial  representations  of  two  groups  of  Bushmen  playing 
this  very  game.  The  action  of  the  arms  and  position  of  their 
bodies  were  unmistakable  ;  so  strikingly  natural  were  they  that 
upon  the  Bush-boy  first  seeing  them  he  exclaimed  at  once,  "  Oh  ! 
sir,  here  they  are  playing  at  Bushman  cards."  Both  paintings 
were  very  old,  and  had  certainly  been  done  before  the  Basutu 

102  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

occupation  of  that  portion  of  the  country,  thus  giving  an  un- 
expected confirmation  of  the  Bushman  origin  of  the  game/ 

3.  Music  and  Musical  Instruments. 
The  Bushmen  in  their  undisturbed  state  might  have  been 
termed  the  most  musical  people  in  South  Africa,  as  in  both  the 
-^        number  of  their  tunes  for  dances  and  the  variety  of  their  musical 
y^       instruments  they  were  unsurpassed  by  any  other  native  races. 
(J        It  seems  certain  that  the  Coast  Kaffirs  were  totally  Xinacquainted 
with  any  kind  of  instrument  whatever  except  those  which  were 
^      of  undoubted  Bushman  origin,   and  it  is  a  question  whether 
^       most  of  those  in  use  by  the  Bachoana  and  Basutu  tribes  were 
not  derived  originally  from  the  same  source.     Some  of  them  were 
undoubtedly  so.     The  songs  also  of  these  stronger  races,  which 
accompanied  their  dances,  showed  little  variation,  and  dwelt 
almost  entirely  on  two  or  three  notes,  while  the  Bushmen,  on  the 
contrary,  not  only  had  a  multitude  of  dances,  but  each  dance 
had  its  own  special  tune  adapted  to  it,   which,  although  con- 
fined to  five  or  six  notes,  were  capable  of  much  modification. 
In  fact,  in  comparison  with  the  other  races  the  Bushmen  might   ' 
have  been  termed  passionately  fond  of  music,  and  from  the 
writer's  experience  some  of  their  simple  refrains  had  as  much 
effect  upon  their  feelings  as  our  own  more  perfect  and  elaborate 
compositions  have  upon  civilized  men. 

This  the  writer  had  fortunately  an  opportunity  of  witnessing, 
whilst  exhibiting  a  portfolio  of  copies  of  their  own  cave-paintings  | 
to   some   old   Bush-people.     The   old   man,   whose   name  was 
'Ko-rin-na  (called  Danster  by  the  Boers  and  Basutu),  was  appar- 
ently between  seventy  and  eighty  years  old,  while  his  wife, 

1  Since  writing  the  above,  Miss  Lucy  C.  Lloyd  has  given  the  following 
description  of  a  game  of  skill  played  by  the  Bushmen  living  to  the  north- 
east of  Damaraland  :  "  It  is  played  with  a  kind  of  shuttlecock,  i.e.  with  a 
short  stick  with  two  or  three  feathers  tied  to  its  upper  end,  and  weighted 
at  its  lower  extremity  by  a  berry  or  a  button  attached  to  it.  This  is 
thrown  into  the  air,  and  beaten  with  another  stick,  to  keep  it  up,  time 
after  time,  much  as  a  shuttlecock  should  be  kept  up  (in  the  game  of  battle- 
dore and  shuttlecock)."  Miss  Lloyd's  Bushman  authorities  assured  her 
that  this  is  one  of  the  old  games  played  by  members  of  their  tribe  in  theii 
own  land.  This  discovery  is  an  interesting  one,  as  tending  to  prove  that 
this  popular  game  of  English  children  is  probably  one  (by  being  thus 
known  to  so  primitive  a  race  as  the  Bushmen)  of  high  antiquity. 



8  *. 

*-  -I 




'Kour-'ke,  was  about  ten  years  younger.  The  meaning  of  his 
name  was  flat-stone,  probably  derived  from  the  place  of  his 
birth.  ^  He  originally  belonged  to  the  tribe  which  inhabited  the 
Bushmanberg  on  the  Caledon.  When  his  tribe  was  attacked 
and  driven  thence,  he  fled  to  'Co-ro-ko,  the  last  great  Bushman 
captain  of  the  'Kou-we,  i.e.  the  Mountain,  the  present  Jammer- 
berg  of  the  Orange  Free  State  and  Basutuland.  Here  he  married 
'Kou-'ke,  who  was  the  niece  of  the  chief  'Co-ro-ko.  His  father's 
name  was  'Gou-roun-'ko,  and  his  mother's,  ^Tuk'rm-ku-kuba. 
Although  all  the  rest  of  the  'Kou-we  tribe  had  been  annihilated^ 
he  and  his  wife  were  stiU  clinging  to  their  old  haunts  and  caves 
in  the  Mountain,  under  the  protection  of  a  petty  Basutu  or 
Bataung  captain,  named  Ramanape,  that  is  the  father  of 

The  old  man  stiU  retained  his  bow^  and  arrows,  together  with 
a  number  of  other  Bushman  implements.  He  was  very  proud  to 
show  how  he  worked  with  his  bone  awls,  etc.  His  wife  was  very 
intelligent,  and  was  evidently  well  versed  in  the  folk-lore  of  her 
tribe.  Unfortunately  the  time  was  too  short  to  permit  the  writer 
to  avail  himself  of  the  knowledge  she  possessed  ;  and  such  was 
the  dread  of  the  Boers  which  animated  these  unfortunates,  that 
no  offer  that  could  be  made  would  induce  them  to  stay  even  for 
a  short  time  within  the  Free  State  border. 

This  interesting  old  couple  expressed  their  delight  continu- 
ously, as  with  twinkling  eyes  they  were  shown  the  different  copies 
of  their  cave-paintings,  explaining  all  they  saw,  and  emphatically 
terming  them  "  their  paintings,"  "  their  own  paintings,"  "  the 
paintings  of  their  nation."  Coming  at  length  to  the  copies  of 
some  dances,  old  'Kou'ke  immediately  exclaimed,  "  That,  that 
is  a  grand  dance.  It  is  the  'Ko-'ku-curra  !  "  "  This,"  she  said, 
"  had  gone  out  of  fashion  when  she  was  a  little  girl,  but  used 
always  to  be  danced  in  the  days  of  her  grandmother's  grand- 

*  Kwa-ba,  alisis  Toby,  in  his  evidence  (Notes  of  Charles  S.  Orpen)  says  : — 
"  Bushman  children  are  named  from  the  place  where  they  were  bom. 
I  have  four ;  and  all  are  called  T'kout-'koo,  from  BethuUe,  the  Bushman 
name  of  which  was  T'kout-'koo.  The  oldest  is  T'kout-'koo-'tn'goi,  or 
the  eldest  T'kout-'koo,  the  second  is  called  Middle  T'kout-'koo,  and  so  on. 
Children  were  not  called  after  their  father,  but  from  some  cave,  river, 
bush,  or  tree  where,  or  near  which,  they  were  born." 



mother.     I  know  it !    I  know  the  song  !  "    And  at  once,  moving 
her  head  and  body  to  the  time,  commenced  the  following  :— 


D.C.  ad  lib. 




'Ke  -'ka  -'ki  -  'koo-'ka    'ta  -  'ta 



'Ke  -'ka  -  'ki  -'koo  -'ka    'ta-'ta 



Men   Um 


Whilst  'Kouke  was  singing  the  upper  line,  the  old  man  be- 
came visibly  affected,  and  kept  continually  touching  her  arm, 
saying,  "  Don't !  Don't !  "  She,  however,  continued,  when  he 
again  said,  almost  pitifully,  "  Don't !  Don't  sing  those  old 
songs,  I  can't  bear  it !  It  makes  my  heart  too  sad  !  "  She 
still  persisted,  with  more  animation  than  before,  evidently  warm- 
ing with  the  recollection  of  the  past,  until  at  length  the  old  man, 
no  longer  able  to  resist  the  impulse,  broke  into  the  refrain  shown 
in  the  second  line.  They  looked  at  each  other,  and  were  happy, 
the  glahce  of  the  wife  seeming  to  say,  "  Ah  !  I  thought  you 
could  not  withstand  that  !  "  One  was  not  prepared  to  meet  with 
such  a  display  of  genuine  feeling  as  this  among  people  who  have 
been  looked  upon  and  treated  as  such  untamably  vicious  animals 
as  this  doomed  race  are  said  to  be.  It  was  a  proof  that  "  all 
the  world's  akin,"  and  was  certainly  a  Bushman  edition  of 
"  John  Anderson,  my  Jo,  John." 

Upon  looking  at  another  painting  which  represented  a  number 
of  Bushmen  hunters  with  their  bows  in  their  hands  and  their 
arrows  filleted  around  their  heads  dancing,  she  said  that  was  a 
dance  for  huntsmen,  and  that  it  was  called  the  'Kahoune ;  to 
this  she  gave  the  following  tune  and  refrain  : — 

Huntsmen.  D.C.  ad  lib. 






ye       ya       ye   -  ya 



ye  -  ya      ye  -  ya 

As  an  additional  proof  of  the  powerful  effect  which  the  sight 

representation  of  their 

of  these  paintings,   together  with  the 


dances  and  the  wild  music  with  which  'Kouke  accompanied  them, 
old  'Ko-rin-'na,  whilst  the  recital  and  song  was  going  on,  the  ice 
having  once  been  broken,  disappeared  behind  the  waggon,  and 
shortly  afterwards  reappeared  with  his  head  arrayed  with  a 
perfect  coronet  of  barbed  arrows,  most  artistically  arranged, 
swa3dng  at  the  same  time  his  old  grey  head,  in  evident  glee, 
backwards  and  forwards  to  the  cadence  of  the  tune,  as  he  came 
towards  us,  and  continued  the  dance  as  long  as  his  wife  continued 
singing,  sa3dng  that  "  now  he  was  a  young  man  again  " ! 

A  third  dance,  she  said,  was  the  'Kou-coo.  It  was  the  grand 
dance  of  the  Bushmen.  The  dancers  were  always  in  full  dress 
of  skins  cut  into  various  patterns  ;  they  also  wore  head-dresses 
and  large  hollow  balls  made  of  dry  hide  fastened  to  their  upper- 
arms  or  shoulders.  These  hollow  instruments  contained  a  number 
of  small  pebbles,  and  were  shaken  with  a  sudden  jerk  in  the 
measured  time  of  the  refrain  which  accompanied  the  dance  ; 
this  she  gave  as  follows  : — 

D.  C.  ad  lib. 




'Kou  -  coo  'Gou-'keng    'ta  -  ba  -  'keng.      'Kou-'coo  'Gou-'keng    ta  -  ba  -  'keng 

We  have  already  given  the  music  of  the  song  which  accom- 
panies the  playing  of  the  game  of  Bushman  cards,  and  which 
evidently  proves  itself  to  be  of  Bushman  origin,  if  we  compare 
it  with  the  foregoing  and  the  monotones  in  which  most  of  the 
Kaffir  compositions  are  chanted. 

Having  thus  gained  some  little  insight  into  the  Bushman's 
talent  for  music,  we  wiU  now  pass  on  to  the  consideration  of  the 
instruments  which  have  been  found  in  his  possession  or  repre- 
sented in  his  paintings.  This  is  a  subject  of  great  interest,  as  it 
enables  us  to  learn,  from  a  Bushman  point  of  view,  the  probable 
primitive  germ  of  many  of  the  complicated  and  beautiful  instru- 
ments of  a  more  advanced  stage  of  civilization. 

Among  the  early  races  of  men,  the  first  attempt  at  a  musical 
accompaniment  was  in  all  probability  the  regular  clapping  of  hands 
to  the  time  of  the  dance  or  the  song.  By  such  sounds  its  move- 
ments might  be  regulated,  and  the  multitude  of  dancers  be  brought 
into  uniform  action.     In  their  war  dances  the  men  danced  and 

io6  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

sang,  or  rather  vociferously  chanted,  while  the  women  accom- 
panied them  with  the  clapping  of  hands,  and  perchance,  similar 
to  some  of  the  present  Kaffir  tribes  with  a  long,  droning,  hum- 
ming undercurrent  of  a  refrain  : — 

D.C.  ad.  Kb. 



^ *<- 


swelling  and  dying  away  as  the  excitement  and  vehemence 
increased  or  diminished.  To  this,  after  a  time  was  added,  to 
increase  the  effect,  the  beating  of  sticks  in  measured  time,  and 
still  advancing,  the  beating  on  shields  for  the  same  purpose  was 
introduced,  a  custom  continued  among  the  frontier  Kaffirs  until 
a  very  few  years  ago,  and  which  may  perhaps  be  still  continued 
in  some  of  the  more  isolated  portions  of  the  country,  where  the 
use  of  the  shield  has  stiU  been  retained. 

These  nomadic  warrior-herdsmen,  who  were  far  ruder  and 
more  warlike  than  the  Bachoana  and  Basutu  clans  of  the 
interior,  had  nothing  among  the  arms  they  carried — their  javelins, 
clubs  and  shields — which  could  suggest  to  their  untutored  minds 
any  ideas  of  harmonious  sounds,  except  the  harsh  rattle  of  their 
weapons  upon  the  piece  of  dry  hide  which  formed  their  means 
of  defence  ;  and  hence  it  was  (from  all  the  most  reliable  evidence 
which  can  be  gathered  bearing  upon  the  subject)  that  they  never 
had,  until  after  they  came  in  contact  with  the  Bushman  race, 
any  knowledge  of  any  other  musical  accompaniment  than  the 
clapping  of  hands,  the  beating  of  kerries  and  assagais,  and  the 
barbarous  noise  of  their  sounding  shields. 

A  hunter  race,  however,  armed  with  a  bow  and  arrow  pos- 
sessed a  considerable  advantage  over  such  tribes  as  these  ;  and 
the  tinkling  sound  of  his  bow-string  must  have  attracted  his 
notice  and  aroused  his  attention.  He  discovered  that  by  striking 
it  with  the  shaft  of  his  arrow,  or  a  small  wand,  he  could  re- 
produce the  pleasant  sound  a:t  will,  and,  doubtless,  by  degrees 
he  was  led  from  this  to  use  it  as  an  instrument  of  music,  and  thus 
made  an  important  advance  beyond  his  more  primitive  accom- 
paniments of  the  clapping  of  hands  and  the  beating  of  sticks. 
All  these  three  methods  were  frequently  found  depicted  in  their 


cave-paintings,  and  amongst  some  of  the  most  ancient  yet  pre- 
served, Bushmen  are  represented  as  beating  on  their  bowstrings 
while  engaged  in  some  of  their  numerous  dances.  Such  then 
was  doubtless  the  first  musical  instrument  of  the  Bushman  race, 
and  such,  in  aU  probability,  was  the  original  germ  which,  com- 
mencing with  the  dawning  ideas  of  prehistoric  man,  when  the  bow- 
strings of  the  mammoth  hunters  gave  out  the  first  musical  sounds 
derived  from  an  artificial  source  that  ever  fell  upon  the  human 
ear,  ultimately  arrived  at  the  perfection  of  the  stringed  instru- 
ments which  have  since  been  developed  in  the  world. 

HappUy  the  Bushmen  afford  us  decisive  information  upon  the 
early  stages  of  this  progressive  development.  Thus  in  Madolo's 
cave,  on  Lower  Zwart  Kei,  we  find  a  Bushman  playing  upon  a 
bow  to  which  an  additional  string  has  been  added,  so  as  to  give  a 
double  harmony.  Again,  in  another  place,  a  bow  is  represented 
with  four  strings,  evidently  a  primitive  harp,  being  used  as  a 
musical  instrument  to  accompany  a  dance.  This  may  be  the 
reason  why,  on  account  of  its  origin,  the  harp  in  ancient  times 
was  considered  a  more  fit  instrument  for  the  hands  of  men  than 
of  women.  Le  Vaillant,  during  his  visit  to  this  country  in  1781-2 
met  with  an  instrument  among  some  of  these  people,  which  was 
called  a  Rabouquin,  made  of  a  triangular  piece  of  wood  with 
three  strings  fastened  with  pegs,  so  that  they  could  be  tightened 
at  pleasure  and  which  when  played  were  twanged  with  the  fingers. 

A  cave,  in  a  deep  ravine,  forming  one  of  the  sources  of  the 
Eland's  river,  on  the  north-east  face  of  the  Malutis,  furnishes 
us  with  another  illustration  of  the  progress  of  development  in 
stringed  instruments.  It  is  the  representation  of  a  dance  in 
which  a  great  number  of  Bushmen  are  engaged  ;  the  musician 
sits  opposite  to  the  centre  of  the  line  of  dancers,  whose  bows  have 
been  collected  and  fixed  in  the  ground  before  him  so  that  the 
strings  are  aU  on  a  level  and  inclined  towards  him,  upon  which 
he  is  playing  by  striking  with  a  bow-stick  ;  thus  we  are  unex- 
pectedly presented  with  the  idea  of  a  primitive  dulcimer,  com- 
posed of  a  combination  of  bows. 

After  a  time  it  appears  to  have  been  discovered  that  by  press- 
ing the  bow  upon  something  hoUow,  the  sound  of  the  instrument 
was  improved  and  increased.  The  Bushman  used  a  tortoise- 
shell  for  his  primitive  sounding-board.     This  instrument  became 

io8  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

popular  among  the  intruding  tribes,  and  was  called  'Kopo  by 
some  of  the  Coast  Kaffirs,  and  'To-mo  by  the  Basutu.  By  them 
a  calabash  was  substituted  instead  of  the  more  primitive  shell 
used  by  the  Bushmen.  It  was  played  by  grasping  the  bow 
near  the  lower  end  with  the  left  hand,  the  open  mouth  of  the 
calabash  was  placed  on  the  left  breast,  the  notes  from  the  string 
were  varied  by  pressures  of  the  left  thumb  and  forefinger  upon  it 
whilst  it  was  tapped  with  a  small  wand  in  the  right  hand.  It  was 
generally  accompanied  by  the  singing  of  the  player,  who  frequently 
gave  a  kind  of  recitative  performance  whilst  doing  so. 

Le  VaUlant  saw  an  instrument  of  very  similar  construction, 
which  he  said  the  Bushmen  of  the  south  called  a  'Joum-'joum. 
It  was  generally  played  by  a  woman  in  a  sitting  posture.  Placing 
the  bow  before  her  perpendicularly  like  a  harp,  holding  the  bottom 
firm  with  her  foot,  without  touching  the  cord,  she  grasped  the 
bow  with  her  left  hand  about  the  middle,  and  whilst  blowing 
upon  the  string,  where  a  quill  feather  was  attached,  she  struck 
the  string  with  a  wand  about  five  to  six  inches  long.  This 
'Joum-'joum  would  almost  appear  to  have  been  a  combination 
of  the  'Kopo,  and  of  another  instrument  called  the  'Goura,  of 
which  we  shall  speak  presently. 

Another  and  more  elaborate  variety  of  the  instrument  we 
are  speaking  of  was  seen  by  Thompson.  He  states  that  he 
observed  a  Bushman  playing  on  a  Ra-ma'kie,  which  he  describes 
as  being  about  forty  inches  long  by  five  broad,  and  having  half 
a  calabash  affixed  to  one  end,  with  four  strings  somewhat  re- 
sembhng  those  of  a  violin.  Here  then  we  find  a  further  advance 
of  a  quadruple-stringed  bow,  joined  with  a  calabash  sounding- 
board,  the  nearest  approach  to  a  harp  that  the  inventive  faculty 
of  the  old  Bushman  race  was  capable  of  arriving  at. 

Another  stringed  instrument  copied  from  the  Bushmen  was 
that  called  a  'Kan'gan  by  some  of  the  Coast  Tribes.  It  was  made 
of  a  kind  of  compound  bow,  formed  of  three  pieces,  the  centre  being 
a  strong  piece  of  bamboo,  about  twelve  inches  in  length.  Two 
pieces  of  tough  wood  were  then  inserted,  one  into  each  end, 
about  eighteen  inches  long  and  tapered  off  towards  the  tips 
like  the  extremities  of  a  bow,  giving  it  the  appearance  of  some 
of  the  old  classical  bows  of  the  northern  hemisphere.  This  was 
then  tightly  strung  with  a  fine  line  made  of  an  antelope's  sinew, 


1.  The  Bushman  Bow, 

2.  Do.  do.        with  two  strings. 

3.  Do.  do.         with  four  strings. 

4.  The  Bushman  'Kopo,  with  Tortoise- 

shell  Sounding  Board. 

5    The  'Kangan. 

6.  Compound  Group  of  Bows. 

7.  Kopo,  with  four  strings  and  Calabash. 

8.  The  'Goura  or  'Gora. 

8a.  The  Quill  Mouth-piece  of  do. 


which  was  again  so  braced  down  to  the  central  piece  of  bamboo 
that  the  string  was  divided  into  two  unequal  lengths.  In  playing 
upon  the  instrument,  a  portion  of  the  bamboo  was  held  in  the 
mouth,  and  the  string  played  upon  with  the  forefinger  of  the  right 
hand,  in  which  it  was  held.  The  music,  however,  obtained  from 
the  ^Kan'gan  was  more  for  the  performer's  own  private  delecta- 
tion than  for  the  amusement  of  the  general  public. 

The  next  instrument  was  the  fGoer-ra,  ^Goura,  or  Gora,  called 
also  Sesiha  by  the  Basutu.  It  has  been  appropriated  by  both 
the  Coast  Kaffirs  and  the  Basutu.  This  also  is  another  invention 
which  has,  evidently,  had  its  origin  from  the  bow.  In  fact  it  is 
simply  a  bow  in  which  one  end  of  the  string,  instead  of  being 
fastened  to  the  bow  itself,  is  attached  to  a  broad,  thin,  flexible 
tongue-shaped  piece  of  quiU,  which  is  firmly  fixed  and  spliced  to 
the  end  of  the  bow.  It  is  this  piece  of  quill  which  acts  as  a  kind 
of  mouth-piece,  in  a  somewhat  analogous  manner  to  the  soft  reeds 
of  the  old-fashioned  clarionets.  The  instrument  was  played  by 
taking  the  quill  in  the  mouth,  and  causing  it  to  vibrate  by  strong 
inspirations  and  expirations  of  the  breath,  and  therefore  might  be 
termed  a  wind-stringed  instrument.  The  sounds  produced 
are  frequently  very  wild,  harsh,  and  discordant.  It  is  said  that 
"with  its  help  the  Bushman  could  imitate  the  noise  of  a  belli- 
cose ostrich  to  perfection."^ 

Sometimes  several  musicians  would  perform  on  the  'Goura 
together,  raising  an  unmelodious  and  unearthly  din  which  how- 
ever delightful  it  might  prove  to  a  native  audience,  would 
certainly  be  more  suggestive  of  a  dance  of  witches  round  an  infernal 
cauldron,  to  ears  more  refined  and  cultivated,  than  anything 
else.  Campbell  who  in  his  last  journey  heard  an  old  man 
playing  upon  one  of  them,  likened  its  sound  to  the  word  "  dum- 
wharry,  dum-wharry,"  pronounced  in  a  hoarse  hollow  tone. 

Another  wind  instrument  was  a  kind  of  reed  flute,  or  pipe, 
and  was  especially  used  in  their  old  favourite  dance  called 
'Ko-'ku-curra.  The  reeds  were  cut  at  a  particular  season,  and  the 
flutes  made  of  different  sizes  and  lengths,  so  as  to  obtain  a  variety 
of  notes.  They  were  made  by  one  or  two  of  the  men  who  were 
skilled  in  their  manufacture,  but  their  use  was  reserved  ex- 
clusively for  the  women.     The  Koranas  esteemed  this  the  most 

1  Miss  L.  E.  Lemue,  Memoir  on  Bushmen.     Notes  by  Charles  S.  Orpen. 

no  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

beautiful  of  all  the  native  music,  and  introduced  its  use  into  several 
of  their  dances. 

Beyond  these  we  find  that  the  inventive  faculty  of  the  Bush- 
men, in  their  desire  to  increase  their  musical  accompaniments, 
had  enabled  them  to  produce  an  instrument  of  percussion  in  the 
shape  of  a  kind  of  tambour  or  drum,  called  by  different  writers 
a  Romelpot  (Le  Vaillant),  'Tam-tam  (Arbousset),  and  T'koi-t'koi 
(Sparrman).  The  two  last  were  probably  Bushman  appellations 
derived  from  the  sound  emitted  by  iL'  Some  of  them  were  formed 
of  a  portion  of  the  shell  of  the  great  bush-tortoise,  the  bottom 
being  cut  away,  and  its  place  supplied  with  a  skin  stretched  over 
it.  This  was  probably  the  most  ancient  invention,  and  where  such 
shells  were  not  procurable,  they  were  driven  to  the  necessity  of 
substituting  earthen  pots,  and  these  again,  from  their  liability 
of  being  easily  broken  in  the  excitement  of  the  dance,  were  dis- 
placed by  a  hollow  block  of  wood,  or  even  a  large  calabash  after 
their  contact  with  the  stronger  races.  All  these  modes  of  con- 
truction,  however,  were  retained  among  one  or  other  of  their 
tribes  till  within  the  memory  of  the  present  generation. 

Those  of  earthenware  were  sometimes  made  of  a  pot  in  the 
form  of  a  quoit,  and  covered  with  the  skin  of  a  springbok  after 
being  well  softened  and  stripped  of  its  hair.  This  therefore  was 
more  a  kind  of  tambourine  than  a  drum.  Those  made  of  a  hollow 
block  were  from  two  to  three  feet  in  height,  whilst  the  heads  of 
the  smaller  kind  were  made  of  the  skin  of  a  steenbok,  and  those 
of  the  larger  were  sometimes  formed  of  a  piece  of  zebra  skin. 
These  were  veritable  drums,  and  were  beaten  with  the  hand  or 
a  stick. 

The  last  instruments  we  shall  notice  were  those  which  have  been 
termed  "  Bushman  bells."     The  larger  kind  were  formed  of  a 

^  There  are  a  number  of  Bushman  words  which,  like  many  found  in  all 
primitive  languages,  are  discovered  to  be,  when  analyzed,  imitations  of 
natural  sounds  :  thus  the  above  word  T'koi-t'koi  is  an  evident  imitation 
of  the  beat  of  their  drum.  Hurroo  (Barrow)  was  another  word  used  by 
some  of  their  coast  tribes  to  indicate  the  breaking  of  the  sea  on  the 
shore  ;  while  'Ka-boo  (Barrow)  and  'Khoo  (Arbousset),  both  being  pro- 
nounced with  a  strong  palatal  cUck,  for  a  gun  ;  the  click  representing  the 
striking  of  the  hammer  of  the  old  flint-locks  before  the  explosion  ;  hence 
also  a  white  man  was  called  by  some  of  them  a  'Khoo — i.e.  the  carrier 
of  a  gun,  while  Le  Vaillant  gives  us  'Kgaap,  a  bow  ;  with  a  dental  click 
in  imitation  of  the  twanging  of  the  bow  itself. 


piece  of  dry  hide,  from  which  the  hair  had  been  scraped.  They 
were  in  the  shape  of  a  large  hollow  sphere,  and  were  fastened  to 
either  the  upper  arm  or  shoulder.  The  smaller  ones  were 
generally  made  of  prepared  springbok  skin,  and  were  either  round 
Uke  the  others,  or  cup-shaped.  This  latter  kind  was  fastened 
round  the  ankles  and  wrists  :  they  were  from  two  to  three  inches 
in  diameter.  Sometimes  a  belt  of  small  ones,  the  size  of  a  pullet's 
egg,  encircled  the  waist,  or  was  worn  across  the  shoulders.  They 
all  contained  small  pebbles,  and  made  a  noise  in  the  agitation 
of  the  dance  like  the  shaking  of  peas  in  a  bladder.  The  effect 
of  this  was  heightened  when  a  number  of  Bush  people  were 
dancing  and  keeping  regular  time  together. 

Their  Dances. 

We  have  already  seen  the  fondness  of  the  Bushmen  for  dis- 
guising themselves  in  masquerading  dresses,  representing  various 
animals,,  birds,  and  imaginary  monsters,  either  with  the  aid 
of  paint  or  the  skins,  heads,  and  horns  of  the  objects  to  be  repre- 
sented. Beyond  this,  however,  their  powers  of  mimicry  were 
wonderfully  striking,  and  thus  they  were  able  not  only  to  assume 
the  appearance,  but  the  action,  manner,  and  cries  of  the  animal 
they  wished  to  personify,  with  extraordinary  accuracy.'  It  was 
this  talent  which  enabled  them  to  give  such  variety  to  their  dances, 
an  amusement  of  which  they  were  passionately  fond,  and  in 
which  they  indulged  upon  every  fitting  occasion.  The  univer- 
sality of  this  custom  was  shown  from  the  fact  that,  in  the  early 
days,  in  the  centre  of  every  village  or  kraal,  or  near  every  rock- 
shelter,  and  in  every  great  cave,  there  was  a  large  circular  ring 
where  either  the  ground  or  grass  was  beaten  flat  and  bare,  from 
the  frequent  and  constant  repetition  of  their  terpsichorean 
exercises.  It  was  when  food  was  abundant,  after  having  eaten, 
that  they  gave  rein  to  their  favourite  amusement.  Feasting 
and  festivity  were  ever  accompanied  with  continuous  dancing 
and  irejoicing  from  the  close  of  eve  to  the  dawn  of  the  returning 

1  A  Bushman  once  travelled  with  the  writer,  who  was  able  to  imitate 
on  the  sand  the  spoor  of  every  animal,  from  an  elephant  to  a  steenbok, 
with  such  exactitude  that  it  required  a  most  practised  eye  to  detect  the 

112  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

They  had  also  their  special  seasons  when  the  dance  was 
never  neglected,  such  as  the  time  of  the  new  and  full  moon. 
Dancing  began  with  the  new  moon,  as  an  expression  of  joy  that 
the  dark  nights  had  ended,  and  was  continued  at  the  full  moon, 
that  they  might  avail  themselves  of  the  deUcious  coolness  after 
the  heat  of  the  day,  and  the  brilliancy  of  the  moonlight  in  this 
portion  of  the  southern  hemisphere.  It  is  probable  that  similar 
practices  in  a  remote  period  gave  rise,  among  some  of  the  nations 
of  antiquity,  to  their  feasts  and  festivals  of  the  new  and  fuU 
moon,  which,  as  they  emerged  from  the  primitive  barbarism 
of  their  ancestors,  became  connected  in  their  observance  with 
a  number  of  religious  rites  and  ceremonies. 

Another  marked  time  with  the  Bushmen  was  the  approach  of 
the  first  thunderstorm  of  the  season,  when  it  is  stated  that  they 
were  ever  particularly  joyful ;  as  they  considered  it  an  infallible 
token  that  the  summer  had  commenced.  In  the  midst  of  their 
excessive  rejoicing  they  tore  in  pieces  their  skin  karosses,  threw 
them  into  the  air,  and  danced  for  several  nights  in  succession. 
On  these  occasions  the  'Gariep  Bushmen  made  great  outcries, 
accompanied  with  dancing  and  playing  upon  their  drums. 

As  the  first  thunder-storm  was  hailed  with  joy  as  a  sign  of 
returning  warmth,  so  as  the  season  advanced  and  some  of  the 
tremendous  outbursts  of  elementary  fury,  which  sometimes 
visit  the  country,  made  their  appearance,  their  superstition  and 
dread  were  aroused,  which  among  some  of  the  tribes  culminated 
in  fits  of  impotent  rage,  as  if  the  war  of  the  elements  excited 
their  indignation  against  the  mysterious  power  which  they  sup- 
posed was  the  cause  of  it. 

A  desire  to  repel  the  storm,  as  they  would  a  dangerous  enemy, 
may  have  arisen  from  the  fact  that  occasionally  some  of  their 
caves  have  been  destroyed  in  these  storms,  when  the  greater 
portion  of  the  horde  have  been  buried  in  the  ruins,  the  projecting 
rocks  jutting  far  over  their  rock-shelters  appearing  to  have 
acted  as  more  powerful  conductors  on  these  fatal  occasions 
than  the  smoother  face  of  the  precipice  on  either  side  of  the 
locality  where  the  cave  was  situated.  In  1877  and  '78  the  writer 
visited  two  spots  where  the  caves  had  been  destroyed  by  catas- 
trophes of  this  kind,  and  where,  in  both  instances,  it  was  said 
that  a  number  of  Bush-people  lost  their  lives. 


Thus  it  was  in  all  probability  that  a  germ  of  the  religious 
element  sprang  up  in  their  breasts,  and  their  superstition  created 
the  idea  of,  as  he  has  been  styled  by  Arbousset,  the  Chief  of  the 
Sky,  whom  they  named  'Kaang,  and  who  was  also  called  ^Kue- 
A'keng-'teng,  the  Man,  that  is  to  say,  the  Master  of  all  things, 
who  according  to  their  expression  one  does  not  see  with  the  eyes 
but  knows  him  with  the  heart,  and  who  is  to  be  propitiated  in 
times  of  famine  and  before  going  to  war,  and  that  throughout  the 
whole  night  by  performing  a  certain  dance.  From  this  we  seem 
to  learn  something  of  the  primitive  ideas,  which  became  more  and 
more  elaborated  until  dancing  was  looked  upon  as  a  religious 
ceremony,  which,  however  licentious  we  may  deem  the 
greater  portion  of  these  ancient  religious  performances  to  have 
been,  were  nevertheless  at  the  time  earnestly  entered  into  with 
a  view  of  propitiating  some  fancied  deity. 

The  dances  of  the  Bushmen  were  carried  out  with  an  energy 
only  equalled  by  that  which  they  displayed  in  the  chase.  In 
many  of  them,  as  well  as  in  their  great  hunts,  they  painted  their 
bodies,  some  covering  them  with  red,  white,  and  yellow  spots  ; 
some  entirely  with  red,  others  in  parti-colours,  as  one  portion  of 
the  body  black,  for  instance  the  legs  and  arms  and  the  lower  part 
to  the  waist,  the  remainder  white  ;  or  the  colours  might  be  re- 
versed, or  red  or  yellow  might  be  substituted  for  either  the  black 
or  white  or  both.  Another  fashion  was  to  adorn  one  side  of  the 
body  with  one  colour,  the  other  with  another,  by  way  of  con- 
trast ;  sometimes  the  whole  would  be  painted  black,  red,  or  some 
other  colour,  and  these  again  ornamented  with  spots,  or  straight 
or  zigzag  lines,  or  a  combination  of  all  these  devices.  These 
were  evidently  intended  for  their  gala  costumes,  and  were  only  in- 
dulged in  before  their  enemies  began  to  vent  their  remorseless 
rage  upon  them. 

Some  of  their  dances  required  considerable  skill,  such  as  that 
which  may  be  called  the  baU  dance.  In  this  a  number  of  women 
from  five  to  ten  would  form  a  line  and  face  an  equal  number  in 
another  row,  leaving  a  space  of  thirty  or  forty  feet  between  them. 
A  woman  at  the  end  of  one  of  these  lines  would  commence  by 
throwing  a  round  ball,  about  the  size  of  an  orange,  and  made  of  a 
root,  under  her  right  leg,  and  across  to  the  woman  opposite  to 
her,  who  in  her  turn  would  catch  the  ball  and  throw  it  back  in 



a  similar  manner  to  the  second  woman  in  the  first  -row ;  she 
would  return  it  again  in  the  same  way  to  the  second  in  the  second, 
and  thus  it  continued  until  all  had  taken  their  turn.  Then  the 
women  would  shift  their  positions,  crossing  over  to  opposite  sides, 
and  again  continue  in  the  same  manner  as  before  ;  and  so  on  until 
the  game  was  over,  when  they  would  rest  for  a  short  time  and 
begin  again. 

Another  ball  dance  was  played  merely  by  the  men.    A  ball 
was  made  expressly  for  this  game  out  of  the  thickest  portion  of  a 
hippopotamus'  hide,  cut  from  the  back  of  the  neck  ;  this  was 
hammered  when  it  was  perfectly  fresh  until  it  was  quite  round  ; 
when  finished  it  was  elastic,  and  would  quickly  rebound  when 
thrown  upon  a  hard  surface.     In  this  performance  a  flat  stone 
was  placed  in  the  centre  upon  the  ground,  the  players  or  dancers 
standing  around.     One  of  them  commenced  by  throwing  the 
ball  on  the  stone,  when  it  rebounded ;  the  next  to  him  caught  it, 
and  immediately  it  was  thrown  again  by  him  upon  the  stone  in 
the  same  manner  as  by  the  leader,  when  it  was  caught  by  the  next 
in  succession,  and  so  on,  one  after  the  other  passing  rapidly  round 
the  ring,  until  the  leader  or  one  of  the  others  would  throw  it  with 
such  force  as  to  send  it  flying  high  and  straight  up  into  the  air, 
when  during  its  ascent  they  commenced  a  series  of  antics,  throw- 
ing themselves  into  all  kinds  of  positions,  imitating  wild  dogs, 
and  like  them  making  a  noise  "  che  !  che  !  che  !  "  but   in  the 
meantime  watching  the  ball,  which  was  caught  by  one  of  them, 
when  he  took  the  place  of  leader,  and  the  game  was  again  re- 

The  play  was  sometimes  varied  by  two  players  being  matched 
against  each  other,  each  throwing  and  catching  the  ball  altern- 
ately, until  one  of  them  missed  it,  when  it  was  immediately  caught 
by  one  of  those  in  the  outer  ring,  who  at  once  took  the  place  of 
the  one  who  had  made  the  slip,  and  thus  the  play  continued.' 

Some  of  the  dances  were  intended  for  the  women  alone,  others 
for  the  men  ;  sometimes  the  men  and  women  danced  together, 
but  in  separate  fines  facing  each  other,  hke  the  old  country  dance, 
at  others  intermingled  alternately  in  a  large  circle. 

The  'Ko-ku-curra,  or  as  it  might  be  termed  from  the  instru- 
ment played  during  its  performance,  the  reed  or  flute  dance, 
1  Notes  by  Charles  S.  Orpen. 


was  exclusively  for  women.  This  was  also  a  kind  of  competition 
dance,  as  the  women  of  one  cave  or  kraal  would  send  a  challenge 
to  those  of  another,  informing  them  that  on  a  certain  day  they 
intended  to  come  and  "  flute  "  with  them.  Both  parties  then 
prepared  for  a  feast,  by  lajang  in  as  large  a  stock  of  provisions 
as  possible.  On  the  appointed  day  the  challengers,  who  had  pre- 
pared, in  addition  to  the  provisions  which  they  carried  with  them, 
a  large  supply  of  various  sized  reed  flutes,  left  their  kraal  in  a 
kind  of  rude  procession,  leaving  all  of  the  men  of  the  place  behind, 
and  started  for  the  rendezvous  whither  the  challenge  had  been 
sent,  fluting  as  they  went  along.  Had  any  of  the  men  attempted 
to  foUow  them  it  would  have  been  resented  as  a  gross  breach 
of  privilege,  for  it  was  the  day  of  the  women  asserting  the 
prerogative  of  unlimited  freedom.  Their  approach  was  heralded 
to  their  expectant  hosts  by  the  sound  of  their  flutes,  which  could 
be  heard  in  fine  weather  at  a  great  distance.  As  they  drew 
near  their  friends  turned  out  to  meet  them,  and  gave  them  a 
joyful  welcome.  A  feast  was  prepared,  and  when  all  were  satis- 
fied, they  made  ready  for  the  friendly  contest. 

The  women  of  the  two  kraals  then  drew  up  in  two  opposing 
lines,  when  the  rival  fluting  and  dancing  commenced ;  this  was 
taken  up  alternately,  first  by  the  representatives  of  the  one  kraal 
and  then  by  the  other,  though  occasionally  both  joined  together. 
This  was  sometimes  continued  for  hours.  Feasting  again  fol- 
lowed, and  the  dance  was  renewed,  the  women  ever  and  anon 
throwing  themselves  into  a  variety  of  positions  intended  to 
excite  the  feelings  of  the  male  spectators.  This  feasting  and 
revelry  was  continued  for  three  or  four  days,  or  until  all  their 
provisions  were  exhausted,  during  which  time  the  lady  visitors 
abandoned  themselves  to  every  species  of  hcence,  and  had  no 
cause  for  missing  the  absence  of  their  husbands.  They  then 
returned  to  their  own  kraal  in  the  same  frolicsome  manner 
as  they  had  left  it.  In  a  short  time  the  women  of  the  kraal  they 
had  visited  returned  the  compliment,  and  came  in  the  same  kind 
of  procession,  bringing,  in  their  turn,  their  flutes  with  them, 
when  the  dancings  and  flutings  were  repeated,  the  same  feastings 
and  orgies  were  reacted,  and  the  men  of  the  kraal  were  consoled 
for  the  departure  of  their  wives  on  the  former  occasion. 

The  song  which  accompanied  this  dance  has  already  been 

ii6  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

given.  The  Koranas  had  a  dance  which  was  identical  with 
the  one  described,  but  as  the  Bushmen  of  the  north  practised 
it  for  generations  before  the  Koranas  made  their  appearance 
on  the  banks  of  the  'Nu  'Gariep,  it  is  not  improbable  that  the 
latter  derived  their  knowledge  of  it  from  the  older  race. 

The  'Kahoune  was  one  in  which  none  but  men  were 
allowed  to  join,  and  of  these,  only  such  as  were  distinguished 
for  their  manly  qualities.  Thus  it  was  when  old  'Ko-rin-'na 
heard  his  wife  singing  again  the  wild  refrain  which  accom- 
panied the  dance  of  huntsmen,  that  the  recollections  of 
olden  times  rushed  over  him,  and  impelled  him  to  array  his  head 
once  more  as  he  doubtless  before  had  done  in  the  days  when  he 
himself  had  joined  the  wild  hunters  of  his  tribe  in  dancing  and 
singing  the  'Tata-'ta-yeya,  yeya  of  the  'Kahoune.  The  accom- 
paniment has  already  been  given.  The  men  danced  in  line, 
with  their  arrows  filleted  round  their  heads,  which  they,  rolled 
about  in  a  rollicking  manner  as  they  advanced,  shaking  their 
bows  aloft  at  the  same  time,  while  their  movements  were  regulated 
by  a  leader. 

Unfortunately  the  writer  was  not  able  to  discover  the  names 
of  a  considerable  number  of  their  other  dances,  nor  the  refrains 
by  which  they  were  accompanied.  There  was  another  dance  of 
huntsmen,  when  as  they  danced  alone  they  were  tapping  on  their 
bowstrings  with  a  small  wand,  and  every  alternate  one  had  a 
large-sized  Bushman  bell  attached  to  his  shoulder.  Another 
might  have  been  termed  a  Bushman  country  dance,  where  the 
men  and  women  were  in  two  opposite  lines,  waving  their  kerries 
frantically  in  the  air,  and  loudly  vociferating  as  they  proceeded, 
while  a  conductor  in  the  centre,  but  a  little  in  advance  of  the  two 
lines,  led  them.  Another  might  be  called  the  chain-dance,  in 
which  a  mixed  company  of  men  and  women  formed  an  open 
column  four  deep,  with  a  considerable  space  between  each  file ; 
all  the  dancers  standing  with  their  arms  extended  holding  a  long 
wand  upright  between  them,  thus  forming  rows  of  arches,  through 
which  a  couple  (a  man  and  woman)  setting  to  each  other,  danced 
in  and  out,  whilst  a  leader  standing  at  the  head  of  the  colunm 
directed  their  movements. 

In  many  of  the  dances  the  conductor  who  superintended 
and  guided  the  movements  of  the  performance  wore  the  dis- 


guise  of  the  'Nadro,  in  some  the  dancers  themselves  were  so 
decorated  ;  in  others  they  were  so  dressed  as  to  represent  a 
particular  animal,  when  the  dance  was  called  by  its  name  ; 
such  was  the  t'Gorld'ka,  the  Mdn-nia,  or  Baboon  dance,  in  which 
the  performers  imitated  all  the  actions  and  droll  grimaces  ol 
rival  baboons,  springing,  gambolling,  and  running  upon  all 
foursy  chattering  and  grimacing  like  a  troop  of  excited  simiadse.^ 
Another,  and  one  which  also  appeared  a  favourite  amongst  them, 
was  the  ^Kloo-rou-o,  or  Frog-dance,  in  which  they  squatted, 
and  leaped,  and  rolled  about  like  a  lot  of  inebriated  batrachians. 
A  third  of  this  kind  was  the  fOi,  or  Bee-dance,  when  the  com- 
pany transformed  themselves  into  a  swarm  of  bees,  and  per- 
formed their  evolutions  with  a  buzzing  chorus. 

1  It  is  quite  possible  that  some  of  these  dances  may  have  had,  at  one 
time,  a  mythical  signification  attached  to  them,  which  would  only 
be  understood  by  the  initiated.  This  idea  is  suggested  by  a  myth  which 
Mr.  Joseph  M.Orpen  obtained  from  a  Maluti  Bushman  named  'Qing  (.'kign 
Bleek)  who  said  Cagn  (the  'Kaang  of  Arbousset  and  Callaway  and  kaggen 
of  Bleek)  sent  Cogaz  to  cut  sticks  to  make  bows.  When  Cogaz  came  to 
the  bush  the  baboons  (cogn)  caught  him.  They  called  all  the  other  baboons 
to  hear  him,  and  they  asked  him  who  sent  him  there.  He  said  his  father 
sent  him  to  cut  sticks  to  make  bows.  So  they  said,  "  Your  father  thinks 
himself  more  clever  than  we  are,  and  he  wants  those  bows  to  kill  us,  so 
we'll  kill  you,"  and  they  killed  Cogaz,  and  tied  him  up  in  the  top  of  a 
tree,  and  they  danced  round  the  tree,  singing  (an  intranscribable  baboon 
song)  with  a  chorus  saying,  "  Cagn  thinks  he  is  clever."  Cagn  was  asleep 
when  Cogaz  was  killed,  but  when  he  awoke  he  told  Coti  to  give  him  his 
charms,  and  he  put  some  on  his  nose,  and  said  the  baboons  have  hung 
Cogaz.  So  he  went  to  where  the  baboons  were,  and  when  they  saw  him 
coming  close  by  they  changed  their  song  so  as  to  omit  the  words  about 
Cagn,  but  a  httle  baboon  girl  said,  "  Don't  sing  that  way,  sing  the  way  you 
were  singing  before."  And  Cagn  said,  "  Sing  as  the  little  girl  wishes," 
and  they  sang  and  danced  away  as  before.  And  Cagn  said,  "That  is  the 
song  I  heard,  that  is  what  I  wanted,  go  on  dancing  until  I  return  ; " 
and  he  went  and  fetched  a  bag  full  of  pegs,  and  went  behind  each  of  them 
as  they  were  dancing  and  making  a  great  dust,  and  he  drove  a  peg  into  each 
one's  back,  and  gave  it  a  crack,  and  sent  them  off  to  the  mountains  to  Hve 
on  roots,  beetles,  and  scorpions,  as  a  punishment.  Before  that  baboons 
were  men,  but  since  that  they  have  tails,  and  their  tails  hang  crooked. 
Then  Cagn  took  Cogaz  down,  and  gave  him  canna,  and  made  him  alive 
again.''  From  the  above  it  is  quite  possible  that  this  dance  may  have 
been  instituted  in  honour  of  some  festival  dedicated  to  'Kaang  or  his  son 
'Qing  informed  Mr.  J.  Orpen  that  there  were  certain  dances  which  only 
certain  men  were  allowed  to  dance  :  men  who  had  been  initiated,  and  under- 
stood the  meaning  of  them.  Some  of  these  animal  dances  may  belong  to 
this  class. 

ii8  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

On  special  occasions,  they  held  a  general  masquerade,  when 
each  took  the  disguise  or  head-dress  of  some  particular  bird  or 
animal,  and  upheld  the  character  during  the  performance.  This 
appears  to  have  been  considered  one  of  their  grand  national 
dances,  and  was  reserved  for  their  high  festivals  ;  it  was  one 
which  even  their  greatest  artists  delighted  to  depict,  and  pro- 
bably it  had  some  hidden  meaning  known  to  the  initiated. 

They  also  had  a  very  singular  one,  which  might  appropriately 
be  named  the  dance  of  acrobats.  In  this,  in  hopping  and  jump- 
ing about  in  a  ring,  it  appeared  as  if  aU  their  efforts  were  directed 
to  place  themselves  in  every  possible  position  and  contortion, 
the  leader  taking  his  place  in  the  centre,  and  occasionally  joining 
in  the  posture-making  going  on  around  him,  while  the  dancers 
moved  on  in  a  circle  writhing,  twining,  and  twisting  their  bodies 
in  whatever  droll  and  uncommon  attitude  their  fancy  suggested; 
now  balancing  themselves  on  their  hands  and  throwing  their 
legs  upwards  until  their  heads  were  in  the  position  of  a  clown's 
looking  through  a  horse-coUar  at  a  circus,  now  standing  on  their 
heads,  and  again  balancing  and  walking  upon  their  hands  with 
their  legs  thrown  high  in  the  air,  in  true  acrobatic  style.  The 
changes  from  one  posture  to  another  were  rapid  and  continuous, 
and  the  entire  circle  was  ever  in  ceaseless  motion.  The  women, 
as  it  was  among  ancient  dancers  and  tumblers,  were  the  chief, 
if  not  the  only,  performers.  The  conductor  was,  however, 
generally  one  of  the  male  sex.' 

Another  very  similar  one  might  be  termed  the  dance  of  the 
Chief,  or  the  Wise  Man  of  the  Tribe.  This  was  one  of  the  licentious 
group  of  dances,  but  which,  nevertheless,  may  have  also  had 
its  hidden  meaning,  in  which  the  women  appear  to  have  offered 
themselves  up  to  sexual  congress  ;  and  which  therefore  may  have 
had  some  reference  to  'Kaang,  who  they  believed  was  the  originator 
or  creator  of  things.  In  this  the  women  formed  themselves  into  a 
circle  similar  to  the  preceding  one,  the  chief  took  up  his  position 
in  the  centre,  and  frequently  hopped  and  sprang  round  on  all 
fours  like  some  animal,  the  women  in  the  meanwhile   dancing 

1  Sir  J.  Gardner  Wilkinson  in  his  Egyptians  gives  a  copy  of  one  of  their 
paintings,  where  a  group  of  women  are  performing  a  number  of  similar 
evolutions.  The  head-dress  of  the  Bushwomen  on  these  occasions  was, 
hiQwever,  the  ears  of  a  spring  or  a  steen-bok. 


and  placing  themselves  in  every  possible  lascivious  position, 
until  the  great  man  in  the  centre  pounced  upon  one  of  those 
who  had  most  distinguished  themselves  and  performed  that 
in  the  sight  of  all  which  in  more  civilized  communities  is  reserved 
for  the  strictest  privacy,  amid  the  applauding  clatter  of  the 
excited  dancers  forming  the  enclosing  circle.  After  this  the 
chief  again  took  up  his  original  position,  and  the  dance  continued 
with  the  same  repetitions  until  all  engaged  in  it  were  wearied 
and  exhausted. 

The  most  famous  dance,  however,  among  the  Bushmen  was 
that  called  Mo'koma,  or  the  dance  of  blood,  a  name  which  M. 
Arbousset  informs  us  is  derived  from  the  same  word  Mo-koma 
which  signifies  blood  from  the  nose,  from  circumstances  which 
frequently  arose  during  its  performance.  They  believed  that 
their  ancestors  derived  their  instructions  with  regard  to  this 
dance  direct  from  'Kaang  himself,  and  that  in  times  of  famine, 
war,  scarcity,  or  sickness,  this  dance,  Mo'koma,  was  to  be  con- 
tinued throughout  the  whole  night,  in  his  honour.  'Qing  or 
'King  informed  Mr.  J.  Orpen  that  Cagn  gave  them  the  song 
of  this  dance,  and  told  them  to  dance  it,  and  people  would  die 
from  it,  and  he  would  give  charms  to  raise  them  again.  It  is  a 
circular  dance  of  men  and  women  following  each  other,  and  it  is 
danced  all  night.  Some  fall  down,  some  become  as  if  mad  and 
sick,  blood  runs  from  the  noses  of  others  whose  charms  are  weak, 
and  they  eat  charm  medicine,  in  which  there  is  burnt  snake 

M.  Arbousset,  who  saw  the  Bushmen  dancing  it,  says,  "  The 
movements  consisted  of  irregular  jumps,  as  if,  to  use  a  native 
expression,  one  saw  a  herd  of  calves  leaping.  They  gambolled 
together  until  all  were  fatigued  and  covered  with  perspiration. 
The  thousand  cries  which  they  raised,  and  the  exertions  which 
they  made  were  so  violent,  that  it  was  not  unusual  to  see  some 
one  sink  to  the  ground  exhausted  and  covered  with  blood,  which 
poured  from  the  nostrils,  and  it  was  on  this  account  that  the  dance 
was  called  Mo'koma  or  the  dance  of  blood.  When  a  man  thus 
falls  in  the  middle  of  a  ball,  the  women  gather  round  him  and 
put  two  bits  of  reed  across  each  other  on  his  back.  They  care- 
fully wipe  away  the  perspiration  with  ostrich  feathers,  leaping 
backward  and  falling  across  his   back.     Soon   the   air   revives 

120  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

him ;  he  rises,  and  this  in  general  terminates  the  performance." 
M.  Arbousset  states  that  the  use  of  the  two  bits  of  reed 
appeared  most  obscure  to  him,  but  it  is  evident  that  they  were 
a  portion  of  the  charms  alluded  to  by  'Qing  ;  but  why  they 
should  be  put  in  the  form  of  a  cross  is  not  so  easily  explained. 
The  cross  singly,  or  in  groups  of  three,  was  one  of  the  most 
ancient  of  the  Bushman  symbols.  M.  Arbousset,  however, 
could  obtain  no  further  explanation  of  it  than  that  they  con- 
stantly had  recourse  to  it  in  cases  of  extreme  sickness,  and  that 
they  say  it  exerts  a  salutary  influence  over  a  sick  person.  He 
considered  that  it  might  be  mixed  up  with  something  of  a  religious 
rite.  That  such  was  really  the  case,  and  that  the  mystery  hidden 
in  such  symbols  was  only  known  to  a  select  few  called  the  in- 
itiated, is  rendered  almost  a  certainty  from  the  statements  of 
'Qing,  who  informed  Mr.  J.  Orpen  that  when  a  man  was  sick 
the  Mo'koma  was  danced  round  him,  and  the  "  dancers  put  both 
hands  under  their  armpits  and  press  their  hands  upon  him,  and 
when  he  coughs  the  initiated  put  out  their  hands  and  receive 
what  has  injured  him,  secret  things.  The  initiated  who  know 
secret  things  are  'Qogn'qe  ;  the  sick  man  is  hang'cai." 

The  women  were  the  great  upholders  of  these  dances,  and 
always  prepared  for  them  by  putting  on  their  gala  costumes. 
It  is  said  that  some  of  the  men  ruined  themselves  by  too  frequent 
indulgence  in  some  of  these  licentious  performances,  or  as  ^Qing 
expressed  himself,  there  were  people  who  were  "  spoilt  "  by 
the  Mo'koma.  It  was  believed  that  such  transgressing  in- 
dividuals were  carried  off  by  'Kaang  to  some  mysterious  retreat 
beneath  the  water,  where  they  were  transformed  into  beasts, 
and  had  constant  chastisement  administered  to  them  as  a 
punishment  for  their  excesses.^ 

The  writer,  whilst  examining  one  of  the  sources  of  the  Eland's 
river,  in  the  Malutis,  discovered  a  rock-shelter  where  the  whole 
of  this  myth  was  most  wonderfully  and  clearly  depicted.  It 
was  in  two  groups,  one  a  short  distance  removed  from  the  other. 
In  the  uppermost  a  number  of  women  of  different  ages  were 

1  'Qing  stated  to  Mr.  J.  Orpen  that  "  there  were  three  great  chiefs,  Cagn, 
Cogaz,  and  'Qwanciqulchaa,  who  had  great  power,  but  it  was  Cagn  who 
gave  orders  through  the  other  two."  The  cartoon  that  will  now  be 
described  clearly  sustains  this  statement. 


engaged  in  performing  the  Mo'koma,  or  this  very  dance  of  blood. 
The  figures  were  full  of  life,  and  their  actions  plainly  suggested 
the  result  which  would  naturally  follow  from  an  indulgence 
in  such  a  questionable  pastime.  Near  at  hand  were  three  of  the 
most  demoniacal-looking  satyrs  that  could  be  imagined,  with 
the  heads  and  horns  of  beasts,  shaggy  loins,  and  long  tails — with 
thick  legs  and  monstrous  splay-feet.  One  of  them  had  captured 
two  unfortunate  delinquent  Bushmen,  whom  he  was  carrying 
away,  the  one  on  his  back,  the  other  by  dragging  him  along 
the  ground  by  a  leather  thong  tied  round  the  culprit's  neck. 

The  other  two  demons  are  evidently  rej  oicing  at  the  capture  that 
had  been  made,  and  are  hurrying  to  the  assistance  of  their  com- 
panion. The  second  representation,  some  feet  removed  from  the 
upper  one,  depicts  where  the  two  sinners  have  been  transformed 
into  beasts,  that  is  they  have  the  heads  of  animals  placed  on  their 
shoulders,  instead  of  their  own  ;  they  are  securely  pinioned  with 
a  couple  of  ^kibis,  or  digging  sticks,  and  'Kaang  has  seized  one  of 
them  in  a  most  painful  position,  and  is  administering  to  him 
a  sound  thrashing  with  another  heavy  'kibi  or  digging  stick 
of  the  same  kind,  thus  making  "  the  strong  hand  "  an  instrument 
of  punishment. 

This  discovery  was  an  important  one  with  regard  to  our  present 
subject,  for  it  unmistakably  proves  that  a  certain  amount  of 
religious  belief  was  connected  with  some  of  their  dances  ;  and 
that,  in  the  painting  here  described,  we  are  furnished  with  a 
positive  representation  of  their  fancied  deities ;  and  more- 
over it  clearly  demonstrates,  as  was  before  suggested,  that  the 
'Nadro  and  hunting  disguises  of  their  remote  ancestors  had 
become  so  identified  with  some  great,  but  primitive  hero  of  their 
race,  upon  whom  they  looked  in  process  of  time  as  not  only  the 
first  man,  but  the  originator  of  all  things,  and  who  they  at 
length  believed  was  not  only  superhuman,  but  that  the  very 
disguises  which  he  wore  were  transformed  into  a  living  portion 
of  himself,  until  their  lively  imaginations  depicted  him  as  a 
being  endowed  with  enormous  power,  as  denoted  by  the  strength 
of  his  limbs  and  possessing  not  such  a  head  as  belonged  to  com- 
mon humanity,  but  one  similar  to  some  great  homed  beast. 
Hence  it  seems  as  if  through  the  despised  Bushman  we  obtain  a 
knowledge  of  the  true  germ  whence  the  more  elaborate,  yet 

122  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

fabulous  and  symbolic  animal-headed  deities  of  the  more  polished 
nations  of  antiquity  were  developed. 

Some  writers  have  suggested  that  a  large  number  of  Bushman 
paintings  are  merely,  especially  where  the  Bushmen  are  shown 
in  their  hunting  disguises,  the  pictorial  representations  of  some 
hidden  myth.  This,  however,  after  having  carefully  studied 
the  subject  for  a  long  number  of  years  during  which  period 
the  present  writer  has  examined  the  remains  of  their  paintings 
in  hundreds  of  caves,  obtaining  also  at  the  same  time  the  opinion 
of  every  trustworthy  Bushman  he  encountered,  he  cannot  be- 
lieve ;  nor  does  he  consider  that,  with  a  very  few  exceptions,  these 
paintings  as  a  rule  were  ever  intended,  originally,  to  convey  a  myth- 
ological meaning,  any  more  than  those  more  finished  productions 
found  in  the  northern  hemisphere,  which  represent  the  victorious 
career  of  some  Egyptian  king,  or  the  sculptures  that  show  those 
of  Assyria  in  the  act  of  hunting  the  lion  or  the  wild  buU.  They 
are  purely  historical. 

It  is,  however,  not  improbable  that  after  the  history  of  some 
of  these  paintings  had  been  forgotten  and  the  names  of  the 
heroes  who  were  intended  to  be  depicted  had  been  lost,  then  it 
might  have  been,  at  least  so  we  can  imagine  from  what  has  been 
previously  advanced,  that  some  mythical  description  may  have 
been  occasionally  connected  with  them  ;  or  some  Bushman  of 
the  present  day,  deeply  learned  in  the  folk-lore  of  his  tribe,  may 
upon  examining  them  imagine  that  he  can  detect  a  similarity 
between  some  myth  with  which  he  is  acquainted  and  the  pictorial 
representation  before  him,  and  he  forthwith  may  cleverly  join 
the  one  with  the  other.  He  may  probably  belong  to  a  tribe 
rich  in  myths,  and  now  looks  for  the  first  time  upon  a  painting 
by  an  artist  of  a  distant  tribe,  of  which  previously  he  had  not 
the  slightest  knowledge.  Clever  as  they  undoubtedly  are,  his 
natural  shrewdness  enables  him  to  patch  the  myth  and  the 
scene  represented  in  the  painting  together. 

The  knowledge  of  myths,  \vhich  are  passed  from  mouth  to 
mouth,  and  handed  down  by  tradition,  must  naturally  be  far 
more  widely  spread  than  that  of  an  individual  painting,  which 
can  only  be  known  to  the  inhabitants  who  once  occupied  the 
cave  and  those  of  the  immediately  surrounding  country.  Such 
would  seem  to  be  the  probable  connexion  between  the  interesting 


myths  communicated  to  Mr.  Joseph  Orpen  by  'Qing  and  the 
Bushman  paintings,  or  copies  of  Bushman  paintings  which  were 
shown  to  him.  As  a  proof  of  this,  a  copy  of  the  same  painting 
was  submitted  to  an  old  Bushman  who  had  been  bom  in  a  cave, 
where  from  his  childhood  he  had  been  surrounded  by  both  the 
ancient  and  recent  paintings  belonging  to  his  tribe,  for  his 
examination.  Without  any  hesitation,  he  explained  it  as 
representing  two  Bushmen  hunters  who  had  painted  their  bodies 
in  their  hunting  disguises,  chasing  a  jackal.  This  man  was  a 
matter-of-fact  observer. 

'Qing,  who  was  inspired  with  all  the  learning  of  his  race, 
described  the  same  two  men,  adorned  with  the  heads  of  rheboks, 
as  mythological  characters  named  Hagwe  and  Canate,  and  that 
the  animal  which  they  were  catching  was  a  snake  !  "  They  are 
holding  out  charms  to  it,"  he  said,  "  and  catching  it  with  a  long 
riem.  They  are  all  under  water,  and  those  strokes  are  things 
growing  under  water.  They  are  people  spoilt  by  the  Mo'koma 
dance,  because  their  noses  bleed."  The  old  Bushman,  as  we 
have  stated,  gave  a  simple  description  of  its  real  and  literal 
historical  meaning.  Its  elaboration  and  mythical  interpreta- 
tion given  by  'Qing  arose  from  the  fact  that  the  latter  was  deeply 
versed  in  the  folk-lore  of  his  people. 

The  writer  has  since  then  had  opportunities  of  questioning 
a  number  of  other  old  Bushmen  upon  the  same  subject,  and  they 
have  aU  agreed  in  their  explanations  with  the  opinion  of  the  ancient 
above  given.  From  this  we  may  therefore  learn  that  in  looking 
at  any  of  these  paintings,  if  we  find  that  they  represent  scenes 
of  actual  Bushman  life,  and  yet  that  a  myth  is  attached  to  them, 
we  must  look  behind  and  beyond  the  myth  for  their  true  his- 
tory. The  myth  was  the  after-thought,  and  never  the  intention 
of  the  artist  who  painted  it. 

Still,  however,  it  is  admitted  that  in  such  a  case  such  a  repre- 
sentation may  become  a  valuable  adjunct  in  arousing  in  the  minds 
of  others,  by  a  fancied,  though  it  may  be,  as  in  the  present  in- 
stance, forced  resemblance  to  some  almost-forgotten  myth, 
a  vivid  recollection  of  its  existence,  and  thus  prove  the  means  of 
further  illustrating  the  imaginative  faculties  and  mental  powers 
of  the  race.  Where  such  a  matter-of-fact  interpretation  cannot 
be  put  upon  it,  and  from  the  experience  of  the  writer  they  are 

124  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

few  in  number,  then  in  all  probability  it  represents  some  ancient 
myth  in  a  pure,  simple,  and  unadulterated  state  ;  and  such  is 
the  one  we  have  described,  which  was  discovered  on  a  flank  of 
the  Malutis,  where  'Kaang  is  seen  to  be  unquestionably  inflicting 
punishment  upon  two  unfortunate  delinquents,  who  have  out- 
raged the  Bushman  ideas  of  prudence  in  their  excessive  indulgence 
in  the  licentious  yet  mystic  dance  of  blood. 

Chapter    VII 


These  subjects  in  Bushman  ideas  are  closely  associated  the  one 
with  the  other,  thus  the  heaps  of  stones  are  connected  with 
their  burials,  while  their  superstition  forms  the  connecting  link 
between  these  and  some  of  their  beliefs. 

As  a  precaution  against  sickness  the  Bushmen  carried  their 
medicinal  roots  ^  and  charms  strung  on  a  cord  of  sinew,  and  worn 
as  a  necklace.  Some  of  the  initiated  were  more  skilful  in  the  use 
of  these  remedies  than  any  one  else,  and  for  this  reason  were  looked 
upon  in  the  light  of  medicine-men  or  doctors.  Such  individuals 
generally  belonged  to  the  ruling  famil5^or  its  branches,  and  thus 
a  kind  of  caste  or  rank  was  recognized,  aniong  whose  members  all 
the  secret  mysteries  of  the  tribe  were  jealously  preserved. 

In  cases  of  severe  illness,  when  all  their  remedies  and 
charms  alike  proved  unsuccessful,  they  would  sometimes  seize 
the  dying  man  and  attempt  to  arouse  by  roughly  shaking  him, 
scolding  and  reproaching  him  with  his  evident  intention  of 
leaving  them  ;  but  when  they  saw  that  their  reproaches  and 
remonstrances  were  as  unavailing  as  their  charms  and  their 
medicines,  they  became  visibly  affected  and  gave  way  to  their 
grief,  making  lamentations  over  him,  and  continued  doing  so 
for  several  days. 

^  The  Bushmen  certainly  are  acquainted  with  a  number  of  very  valuable 
medicinal  plants  ;  some  of  them  are  specifics  in  the  cure  of  several  diseases 
which  have  frequently  bafSed  the  skill  of  the  most  eminent  medical 
practitioners  ;  and  it  is  a  matter  of  astonishment  that  no  effort  has  been 
made  to  discover  such  important  secrets.  Thus  they  were  able  to  effect 
certain  cures  in  cases  of  snake-bite,  taenia,  dysentery,  and  calculus,  besides 
the  rapid  removal  of  gonorrheal  affections. 


M.  Arbousset,  who  availed  himself  of  the  frequent  opportuni- 
ties he  possessed  of  studying  the  manners  and  customs  of  this 
people,  states  that  as  soon  as  a  man  had  breathed  his  last,  his 
relatives  rolled  him  up  in  his  kaross  and  carried  him  out,  by 
removing  the  back  of  his  hut,  as  it  was  considered  unlucky  to 
take  out  the  dead  through  the  regular  door  or  opening  used  by 
the  living.  His  body  was  placed  temporarily  in  a  round  hole, 
he  was  then  blessed  and  revered  by  his  family,  and  looked  upon 
as  one  of  their  tutelar  guardian  spirits.  "  The  dead  were  first 
anointed  with  red  powder  mixed  with  melted  fat,  and  then  they 
were  coarsely  embalmed.  The  friends  of  the  deceased  attended 
the  funeral,  and  laid  the  body  on  its  side  in  an  oblong  pit,  where 
all  the  friends  and  relatives  assembled  to  make  their  lamenta- 

His  bow  and  staff  were  deposited  in  the  grave  by  his  side. 
His  face  was  placed  towards  the  rising  sun,  as  they  believed 
were  they  to  put  his  face  towards  the  west,  it  would  make  the 
sun  longer  in  rising  the  next  day.  At  last  they  threw  into  the 
pit  the  materials  of  the  hut  in  which  he  died  and  burnt  it  over 
him,  and  the  grave  was  then  filled  with  earth  to  the  level  of  the 
ground.  Arbousset  says  that  the  Bushman  clans  with  which 
he  was  acquainted  placed  no  heaps  of  stones  or  monument  over 
the  graves,  as  other  native  tribes  do.  It  is  certain,  however, 
that  the  greater  portion  of  the  Bushmen  did  so,  as  well  as  surround- 
ing the  spot  with  a  hedge.  "The  funeral  over,"  Arbousset 
continues,  "  all  the  inhabitants  left  the  place  for  a  year  or  two, 
during  which  time  they  never  spoke  of  the  deceased  but  with 
veneration  and  with  tears."  ..."  These  interments  were  never 
so  precipitate  as  among  the  Kaffir  or  Bachoana  tribes,  where 
unfortunate  people  have  been  known  to  recover  from  their  state 
of  lethargy,  and  manage  to  work  themselves  out  of  their  graves 
again,"  appearing  once  more  among  their  horrified  friends  as 
unexpected  visitors  from  another  world. 

The  graves  were  dug  with  the  'kibi.  It  is  most  probable  that 
the  custom  of  placing  stones  over  the  graves  of  the  dead  amongst 
primitive  tribes  originated  from  the  desire  of  protecting  the  bodies 
of  their  relatives  from  the  ravages  of  hyenas  and  other  ravenous 
beasts.  By  degrees  these  heaps  were  looked  upon  as  associated 
with  the  memory  of  the  dead,  and  as  their  superstitious  ideas 

MODE    OF    BURIAL    OF    THE    BUSHMEN  127 

became  more  and  more  developed,  and  the  belief  arose  that 
the  shades  or  spirits  of  the  departed  could  be  either  propitiated 
or  offended,  it  was  at  last   looked  upon  as  an  imperative  duty 
to  avoid  the  evil  consequences  which  might  follow  should  it  be 
neglected,  for  every  passer-by  to  make  some  addition  to  the 
sacred  heap,  with  the  assurance  that  by  so  doing  he  secured 
prosperity  to  himself  and  his  family.     In  course  of  time  heaps 
of  stones,  the  Gilgals  of  old,  were  raised,  which  had  a  certain 
phaUic  significance.     These  were  altogether  unconnected  with 
the  burial  of  the  dead,  and  are  still  found  on  the  brows  of  many 
hills  in  different  parts  of  South  Africa,  of  which  we  shall  have 
to  speak  when  treating  of  the  stronger  races.     Heaps  of  this 
description  appear  to  have  been  instituted  after  the  southern 
migration  of  the  Bushmen,  as  they  had  no  traditions  concerning 
them ;  therefore  from  our  South  African  point  of  view  the  evi- 
dence seems  strongly  to  favour  the  idea  that  the  primitive  heaps 
of  stones  were  primarily  intended  merely  as  a  protection  to  the 
bodies  of  those  buried  beneath  them. 

The  Bushmen,  however,  had  got  beyond  this  stage,  and  con- 
sidered that  in  order  to  propitiate  the  favour  of  their  departed 
friends  it  was  necessary  to  make  an  offering  to  the  consecrated 
heap  upon  their  graves  whenever  they  passed.'  Enormous  lines 
of  stones  were  noticed  in  some  parts  of  the  country  by  some  of 
the  old  travellers,  but  these  have  evidently  been  the  ruins 
of  the  stone  fences  which  had  been  made  by  some  of  the  ancient 
hunters,  monuments  of  the  numerous  tribes  which  inhabited  it 
at  the  time  of  their  construction,  as  well  as  a  testimony  of  the 
wonderful  energy  and  industry  possessed  by  a  race  which  has 
been  long  deemed  one  of  the  lowest  of  the  genus  homo. 

1  A  writer  of  a  letter  to  the  Graham's  Town  Journal,  February,  1865, 
in  describing  some  of  the  stone  heaps,  states  that  two  of  them  are  to  be 
found  in  the  vicinity  of  the  missionary  institution  of  Hankey,  on  the 
Gamtoos  river.  "  One  of  these  ancient  heaps,"  he  continues,  "stands  a 
little  above  the  junction  of  the  Zuurbron  and  Vley  Plaats  road,  in  the 
Zaat  Kloof,  on  the  hne  of  road  from  Hankey  to  the  Zuurveld,  via  Zuur- 
bron." It  consists  of  a  vast  heap  of  stones,  few  of  which  are  larger  than 
a  man's  fist,  intermixed  with  fragments  of  boughs  plucked  from  the  sur- 
rounding bushes.  The  other  is  to  be  found  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Han- 
key, in  a  narrow  gorge  of  the  Klein  or  Palmiet  river.  These  he  attributes. 
incorrectly  to  Hottentots. 

128  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

Sparrman  in  his  travels  met  with  heaps  which  evidently 
belonged  to  both  classes.  He  writes  :  "  Heaps  of  stones  were 
found  near  the  Great  Fish  river  similar  to  those  near  Krakeel 
river.  They  were  from  three  to  four  and  four  and  a  half  feet 
high,  and  the  bases  of  them  measured  six,  eight,  and  ten  feet  in 
diameter.  They  likewise  lay  ten,  twenty, ,  fifty,  two  hundred 
paces,  and  even  farther  asunder,  but  constantly  between  two 
particular  points  of  the  compass,  and  consequently  in  right  lines, 
and  those  always  running  parallel  to  each  other."  He  "  likewise 
found  these  heaps  of  stones  in  a  considerable  number  in  more 
open  portions  of  the  country,"  and  knew  from  the  account 
received  from  the  colonists  on  this  subject,  that  they  extended 
in  this  manner  several  days  journey  from  this  spot  in  a  northerly 
direction  through  uncultivated  plains,  into  the  Sneese^  Vlakten 
where  they  were  said  to  be  met  with  in  still  greater  numbers 
of  parallel  lines. 

Sparrman  attempted  to  dig  into  one  of  these  isolated  heaps,^ 
but  after  penetrating  about  two  feet  with  great  labour,  he  dis- 
covered nothing  but  what  appeared  to  be  "  some  rotten  bits 
of  trees  and  something  that  seemed  to  be  a  piece  of  bone  quite 
mouldered  away." 

From  other  travellers  we  obtain  more  definite  information 
upon  this  interesting  subject  ;  thus  Borcherds  found  near  the 
drift  which  he  crossed  in  the  upper  portion  of  the  'Gariep,  on 
the  right  bank,  a  grave  of  a  Bushman  captain  or  chief,  which 
consisted  of  a  large  cairn  of  stones  and  branches  of  trees  ;  and 
every  "  Bushman  on  passing  the  pile  was  in  the  habit  of  adding 
a  stone  to  the  heap,  as  a  mark  of  respect  for  the  deceased." 
Thompson  says  :  "  In  the  Hantam  there  is  a  narrow  defile 
between  two  mountains,  called  Moordenaar's  Poort  (or  the 
Murderer's  Pass)  on  account  of  several  colonists  having  been  killed 
there  by  Bushmen.  Near  the  same  spot  were  six  large  piles  of 
stones,  or  cairns,  which  had  been  raised,  so  his  guide  asserted, 
to  commemorate  a  bloody  conflict  between  two  tribes  of  either 

'  Cineeze,  Cineese,  or  Chinese,  from  the  appearance  of  the  Bushmen 
Hving  upon  them. 

^  The  use  of  these  laborious  works  of  the  early  Bushmen  has  already 
been  explained,  of  which  Sparrman  was  evidently  ignorant. 

MODE    OF    BURIAL    OF   THE    BUSHMEN         129 

Hottentots  or  Bushmen,  before  Europeans  intruded  into  the 

From  the  foregoing  evidence  both  with  regard  to  their  mode 
of  burial  and  the  veneration  paid  by  some  of  the  tribes  to  the 
dead,  and  the  heaps  of  stones  placed  upon  their  graves  and 
sacred  to  their  memory,  we  are  assured  that  the  Bushmen  had 
some  vague  belief  in  a  future  state  of  existence.  This  becomes 
a  certainty  when  we  inquire  into  some  of  their  beliefs. 

The  custom  of  cutting  off  the  first  joint  of  the  little  finger 
was  almost  universal  amongst  the  Bushman  tribes.^  The  opera- 
tion was  performed  with  a  sharp  stone,  and  they  believed  that 
by  this  act  of  self-mutilation  they  secured  to  themselves  a  long 
continued  career  of  feasting  after  death.  The  'Gariepean  Bushmen 
have  the  following  myth  upon  the  subject  :  "  one  of  them  stated 
that  not  only  his  own  tribe,  but  many  others  also,  believed  that 
at  some  undefined  spot  on  the  banks  of  the  Gariep,'  or  Great  river, 
there  is  a  place  called  'Too'ga,  to  which  after  death  they  all  will 
go  ;  and  that  to  ensure  a  safe  journey  thither  they  cut  off  the 
first  joint  of  the  little  finger  of  the  left,  or  right  hand,  one  tribe 
adopting  the  one  fashion,  another  the  other.  This  they  con- 
sider is  a  guarantee  that  they  will  be  able  to  arrive  there  without 
difficulty,  and  that  upon  their  arrival  they  will  be  feasted  with 
locusts  and  honey,  whilst  those  who  have  neglected  this  rite 
will  have  to  travel  there  upon  their  heads,  beset  the  entire  dis- 
tance with  all  kinds  of  imaginary  obstacles  and  difficulties  ; 
and  even  after  all  their  labour  on  arriving  at  the  desired  destina- 
tion they  will  have  nothing  given  to  them  but  flies  to  live  upon. 

Another  belief  of  these  Bushmen  was  somewhat  similar  to 
that  of  'Qing  of  the  Maluti  tribes.  They  imagined  that  in  the 
beginning  of  time  all  the  animals,  as  well  as  the  Bushmen  them- 
selves, were  endowed  with  the  attributes  of  men  and  the  faculty 
of  speech,  and  that  at  that  time  there  existed  a  vicious  and 
quarrelsome  being  named  'Hoc-'hi'gan,  who  was  always  quarrel- 

1  A  similar  custom  was  prevalent  among  the  old  Tambukis,  but  we 
shall  find  when  we  inquire  into  their  history  that  there  is  every  reason 
to  believe  they  derived  it  from  their  intimacy  with  the  Bushmen. 

'  Obtained  from  an  old  Bushman  near  Fraserburg  by  Mr.  Turner, 
Junior,  of  Draai  Hoek,  Vaal  River. 

'  Some  of  the  Bushmen  believe  there  is  a  deep  mystery  hanging  over 
that  portion  of  the  river  called  the  Falls. 


130  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

ling  with  every  animal  he  came  near,  and  trying  on  that  account 
to  injure  it.  He  at  length  disappeared,  but  they  state  that  none 
of  their  race  was  ever  able  to  discover  what  became  of  him,  nor 
is  there  any  tradition  to  tell  when  or  where  he  went.  But  upon 
his  disappearance  he  committed,  as  a  parting  gift,  a  deed  of 
vengeance  ;  for  immediately  afterwards  all  the  animals  forsook 
the  abodes  of  men,  ,and  were  changed  into  their  present  condi- 
tion, while  the  Bushmen  alone  .retained  the  faculties  of  human 
beings  and  the  power  of  speech. 

When  these  Bushmen  were  asked  how  they  knew  this,  they 
replied,  "It  is  what  they  had  learnt  from  their  fathers,  and  it  is 
what  their  fathers'  great-great-grandfathers  had  told  them." 

Some  of  the  tribes  living  in  the  regions  around  the  lower 
portion  of  the  Gariep  have  another  version  of  a  primitive  state 
of  friendship  between  Bushmen  and  the  lower  animals,  and 
their  subsequent  dispersion.^  According  to  this  myth  their 
remote  forefathers  came  out  of  a  hole  in  the  ground,  at  the 
roots  of  an  enormous  tree,  which  covered  a  wide  extent  of 
country.  Immediately  afterwards  all  kinds  of  animals  came 
swarming  out  after  them,  some  kinds  by  twos  and  threes  and 
fours  ;  others  in  great  herds  and  flocks  ;  and  they  crushed,  and 
jostled,  and  pushed  each  other  in  their  hurry,  as  if  they  could  not 
get  out  fast  enough  ;  and  they  ever  came  out  swarming  thicker 
and  thicker,  and  at  last  they  came  flocking  out  of  the  branches 
as  well  as  the  roots.  But  when  the  sun  went  down,  fresh  ones 
ceased  making  their  appearance.  The  animals  were  endowed 
with  the  gift  of  speech,  and  remained  quietly  located  under  and 
around  the  big  tree. 

As  the  night  came  on,  the  men,  who  were  still  sitting  at  the 
foot  of  the  tree,  were  told  that  during  that  night,  until  the 
sun  rose  again,  they  must  not  make  a  fire.  Thus  they  remained 
for  many  hours,  with  all  the  animals  sleeping  peacefully  around 
them.  And  the  night  grew  not  only  very  dark,  but  cold,  and  the 
cold  went  on  increasing  until  it  became  bitterly  cold,  and  then 
cold  almost  beyond  endurance  ;  and  the  men  at  last,  not  being 
able  to  withstand  the  extreme  severity  any  longer,  in  spite  of 

'  Communicated  to  the  writer  by  Mr.  William  Coates  Palgrave,  Special 
Commissioner  to  the  Tribes  on  the  West  Coast,  and  obtained  by  him  many 
years  ago,  in  one  of  his  first  visits  to  that  part  of  the  country. 

MODE    OF    BURIAL    OF   THE    BUSHMEN         131 

the  warning  that  had  been  given  to  them,  attempted,  and  at 
last  succeeded  in  making  a  fire.  As  soon  as  the  flames  began  to 
shoot  up,  the  startled  animals  sprang  to  their  feet  in  terror, 
and  rushed  off  panic-stricken  to  the  mountains  and  the  plains, 
losing  in  their  fright  all  powers  of  speech,  and  fleeing  ever  after- 
wards from  the  presence  of  man.  Only  a  very  few  animals  re- 
mained with  the  fire-makers,  and  these  the  men  domesticated 
and  kept  about  them  for  their  service  ;  but  the  great  family 
of  animals  was  broken  up,  and  could  never  again  be  re- 

Dr.  Bleek  states  ^  that  among  the  Western  Bushmen  the  most 
prominent  object  in  their  mythological  tales  is  'Kaggen,  whose 
mundane  representative  is  the  Mantis,  and  that  this  Mantis 
('Cagn — ^Kaggen),  according  to  the  myths  of  his  Bushmen 
informants,  was  very  far  from  being  represented  as  a  beneficent 
being,  but  on  the  contrary  is  a  fellow  full  of  tricks,  getting  into 
scrapes,  and  even  doing  purely  mischievous  things,  so  that  in 
fact  it  was  no  wonder  that  his  name  has  sometimes  been  trans- 
lated by  that  of  the  devil.  'Kaggen's  wife's  name  was  'Hunntu 
or  'Hunu,  the  hjnrax  ;  and  he  had  an  adopted  daughter  j^o, 
the  porcupine,  who  married  ^Kwammanga,  by  whom  '^0  had 
a  son  called  Wi,  the  ichneumon,  who  was  the  constant  adviser 
and  admonisher  of  his  grandfather  ^Kaggen,  the  mantis. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  east — that  is,  of  the  conquered  territory. 
Orange  Free  State,  Basutuland,  and  the  Malutis — declare  that 
there  were  at  one  time  a  number  of  animals  living  in  the  country 
in  the  days  of  their  forefathers,  which  are  now  extinct  and  no- 
where to  be  found  in  Southern  Africa.  Some  of  these  are 
described  as  great  monstrous  brutes,  exceeding  the  elephant  or 
hippopotamus  in  bulk,  others  enormous  serpents,  such  as  are 
neither  seen  nor  heard  of  in  these  degenerate  days.  Upon  this 
point  'Kou'ke  stated,  upon  looking  at  the  copy  of  a  picture  of  a 
great  black  reptile  of  this  description,  taken  from  the  cave  of  the 
Great  Black  Serpent  and  the  Elephant,  in  Rockwood  glen. 
Orange  River,  that  this  was  an  enormous  brute  which  was  found 
in  the  very  early  days  in  the  country,  and  that  they  were  so  large 
and  powerful  that  they  would  attack  and  crush  to  death  a  full 

'  Remarks  by  Dr.  Bleek  on  a  "  Glimpse  into  the  Mythology  of  the 
Maluti  Bushmen,"  by  J.  M.  Orpen. 

132  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

grown  hartebeest.  She  described  it  as  more  than  twenty,  or 
nearly  thirty  feet  in  length. 

The  homed  serpent  of  the  Brakfontein  cave,  Koesberg,  she 
pronounced  to  be  the  'Koo-be-eng,  a  monstrous  creature  of  equal 
size  with  the  former,  that  lived  in  the  water,  and  sometimes 
lurked  near  its  edge  in  the  reeds. 

The  great  animal  which  was  the  distinctive  symbol  of  Klein 
Aasvogel  Kop  cave,  Lower  Caledon,  a  second  representation 
of  which  was  found  in  a  rock-shelter  many  miles  distant,  at 
Miaputte,  on  the  banks  of  the  'Nu-Gariep  or  Upper  Orange, 
near  where  the  river  disengages  itself  from  the  gorges  of  the 
Malutis,  she  called  the  ' Kou-teign-  Koo-rou,  which  she  explained 
.-t  as  meaning  '  the  Master  of  the  Water.'  This  she  stated  was  an 
animal  of  enormous  size,  that  lived  in  the  country  in  ancient 
timesj  The  Bushmen  of  the  olden  days  used  to  hunt  them  ; 
but  they  have  long,  long  ago  disappeared.  It  was  far  larger  and 
more  formidable  than  the  hippopotamus,  and  lived  always  in  or 
near  the  great  waters  and  rivers,  amongst  swamps  and  reeds. 
The  Bushmen  captured  it  by  making  a  very  strong  enclosure 
with  reeds  and  poles,  so  strongly  interwoven  and  bound  together 
that  it  could  not  break  through.  This  fence  was  also  masked 
with  reeds.  When  they  succeeded  in  getting  one  of  these  brutes 
within  the  toils,  as  soon  as  the  monster  found  he  was  entrapped 
his  fury  appeared  to  know  no  bounds  ;  he  made  desperate  attempts 
to  free  himself,  and  lashed  the  water  about,  in  the  impotence  of 
his  rage,  until  he  raised  such  clouds  of  spray  around  him  that  the 
rainbow  appeared  upon  them,  as  if  crowning  him.  Hence  his 
name,  and  this  circumstance  the  Bushman  artists  attempted 
to  depict  in  their  paintings.  But  even  after  thus  imprisoning 
him,  it  frequently  happened  that  three  or  four  Bushmen  would 
be  sacrificed  to  his  uncontrollable  fierceness  before  he  was  finally 
conquered  and  killed.  He  generally  seized  them  by  the  middle  of 
the  back,  crushed  them  with  a  single  crunch  of  his  teeth,  and  then 
pounded  them  to  a  shapeless  mass  beneath  his  feet.  These  and 
others  she  declared  were  animals  that  once  lived  in  the  land  in 
the  days  of  her  father's  fathers,  but  they  had  long  since  dis- 

With  regard  to  their  religious  beliefs,  M.  Arbousset  informs  us 
that  the  Bushmen  of  the  mountains  believed  in  an  unknown  being 

MODE    OF   BURIAL   OF   THE   BUSHMEN         133 

they  called  'Kaang,  or  the  chief,  or  great  chief.  He  is  to  be 
addressed  in  times  of  famine,  or  before  going  to  war,  and  when 
performing  the  dance  of  the  Mo'koma.  AU  the  beasts  of  the  field 
have  their  marks  which  he  has  given  them,  for  example  this  eland 
obtained  from  him  only  a  stump  of  a  tail,  that  a  folded  ear,  this 
other  a  pierced  ear.  'Kaang  causes  to  live  and  causes  to  die  ; 
he  gives  or  refuses  rain,  when  there  is  a  deficiency  of  game  they 
say,  'Kaang  'ta-kago  go  si-  ho  'kaa  'kuaing,"  'Kaang  refuses  them 

Dr.  Bleek,  as  we  have  seen,  identifies  'Kaggen  ('Kaang)  with 
the  Mantis.  These  Bushmen  appear  to  apply  the  same  word 
to  the  caddisworm  as  to  the  mantis,  to  which  the  name  of  N'go 
vide  fj^o  of  Dr.  Bleek)  is  also  given.  The  N'go,  or  caddisworm, 
which  is  frequently  met  with  at  certain  seasons  in  some  parts  of 
the  Free  State,  constructs  a  case  for  itself  with  pieces  of  straw, 
and  it  was  probably  its  peculiar  appearance,  as  well  as  that  of 
the  mantis,  which  first  attracted  the  superstitious  attention  of 
the  Bushmen  towards  these  remarkable  insects,  which  were 
subsequently  held  in  high  veneration  by  some  of  them.  The 
Bachoana  consider  the  N'go  to  be  very  poisonous,  and  are 
afraid  of  them  should  they  meet  them  among  the  grass  when  the 
cattle  are  grazing.  The  Bushmen  of  the  East  addressed  them  as 
an  outward  representation  of  'Kaang.  When  asked  by  M. 
Arbousset  whether  they  did  not  pray  to  their  deceased  fathers, 
like  other  tribes  of  the  land,  the  Bushman  addressed  answered, 
No  !  to  which  he  added  that  his  father  had  taught  him  other- 
wise, and  had  solemnly  said  before  dying,  "  My  son,  when  thou 
goest  to  the  chase,  seek  with  care  for  the  N'go,  and  ask  food  from 
him  for  thyself  and  children.  Mark  after  thy  prayer  if  he  moves 
his  head,  describing  an  elbow,  which  signifies  that  he  has  heard 
thee  graciously,  and  that  very  evening  thou  wilt  bring  to  thy 
mouth  a  portion  of  game,  which  thou  shalt  hold  fast  between 
thy  teeth,  and  shalt  cut  it  with  thy  knife,  and  with  thine  arm 
bent  describing  an  elbow  like  our  N'go." 

The  words  of  the  petition  to  be  offered  to  this  emblem  of 
'Kaang  were  : 

"  'Kaang  'ta  ha  a  ntanga  e  9 

'Kaang  is  it  that  thou  dost  not  like  me  ? 

'Kaang  'ta  'gnu  a  'kua  a  s'e'ge. 


'Kaang  lead  me  to  a  male  gnu. 

rtanga  i  'kogu  'koba  hu  ; 

I  like  much  to  have  my  belly  filled  ; 

I'kontS,  i'kage,     itanga  i'kobu  koba  hu  ; 

My  oldest  son,  my  oldest  daughter,  hke  much  to  have  their  bellies  filled  ; 

'Kaang  'ta,  'gnu  a  'kua  a  s'e'gi. 

'Kaang  bring  me  a  male  gnu  under  my  shafts." 


'Qing,  when  questioned  by  Mr.  J.  Orpen,  with  regard  to 
'Kaang,  replied,  "  Cagn  made  all  things,  and  we  pray  to  him." 
Being  asked  whether  he  was  good  or  malicious,  he  answered, 
•'  At  first  he  was  very  good  and  nice,  but  he  got  spoilt  through 
fighting  so  many  things."  When  questioned  as  to  the  manner  in 
which  Bushmen  prayed  to  him,  he  responded  in  a  low  imploring 
tone  "  O  Cagn  !  O  Cagn  !  are  we  not  your  children  ?  Do  you 
not  see  our  hunger  ?  Give  us  food  !  "  and  he  gives  us  both  our 
hands  full."  When  an  inquiry  was  made  whether  he  could  tell 
where  'Kaang  was,  he  said,  "We  don't  know, but  the  elands  do. 
Have  you  not  hunted  and  heard  his  cry,  when  the  elands  sud- 
denly started  and  ran  to  his  call  ?  Where  he  is,  elands  are  in 
droves  like  cattle."  Having  stated  that  'Kaang  was  the  first 
being,  and  that  his  wife's  name  was  Coti,  he  was  asked  where  Coti 
came  from,  when  he  replied,  "  I  don't  know,  perhaps  from  those 
who  brought  the  sun  ;  but,"  he  added,  "  you  are  now  asking 
secrets  that  are  not  spoken  of,"  secrets  with  which  he  asserted 
he  was  not  acquainted,  and  which  were  only  known  to  the 
initiated  men  of  that  particular  dance. 

'Kwaha  stated  to  Mr.  Charles  Sirr  Orpen  ^  that  the  Bushman 
name  for  the  Superior  Being  was  T'koo — vide  'Tikoe  and  T'koe, 
the  Bushman's  "  strong  hand,"  or  round  stone  of  the  'Kibi  or 
digging  stick — and  that  his  ('Kwaha's)  father  used  to  say  that 
when  they  killed  game  they  were  not  to  waste  the  flesh,  or  T'koo 
might  not  favour  them  again  by  giving  them  any  more.  They 
considered  T'koo  was  good  for  all.  There  was  also  a  wicked  spirit 
T'ang  (?  'Kaang),  but  although  they  called  T'koo  the  father, 
they  did  not  like  to  speak  of  T'ang. 

^  From  this  several  Kaffir  words  appear  to  be  introduced  into  the  old 
Seroa  language,  thus  itanga  (Bushman)  I  love  ; — uku  tanda, — ^itanda 

^  'Kwaha  had  been  staying  for  a  long  time  at  the  Bethulie  Mission 
Station,  under  missionary  instruction. 

MODE    OF    BURIAL   OF    THE    BUSHMEN         135 

We  have  now  in  our  study  of  the  Bushmen  attempted  to  obtain 
some  insight,  imperfect  however  as  it  must  necessarily  be,  of 
the  probable  lines  along  which  the  tribes  first  penetrated  into 
South  Africa.  We  have  discovered  that  they  were  divided  into 
two  great  branches,  each  of  which  possessed  artistic  talents  of  a 
distinct  order  ;  and  that  they  had  been  so  long  separated  that, 
although  they  still  retained  certain  myths  which  seemed  to 
indicate  from  their  great  similitude  a  common  origin,  the  lan- 
guage of  each  of  the  two  branches  had,  in  the  interim,  become 
so  modified  that  when  some  of  the  advanced  clans  again  came 
in  contact,  they  were  not  able  to  understand  one  another,  or  as 
'Kwaha,  who  belonged  to  the  painter  tribes,  said,  he  could  not 
understand  those  of  the  'Gumaap  or  'Gij-Gariep,  who  were  of 
the  sculptor  branch,  as  "  their  language  was  too  double,"  that  is, 
in  all  probability,  it  had  retained  a  greater  number  of  primitive 
clicks,  and  therefore  more  of  its  primitive  character  than  the 
other.  The  painter  tribes  came  earlier  in  contact  with  the 
races  that  followed  upon  the  Bushman's  trail. 

We  have  learnt  also  something  of  their  government,  their 
character  and  domestic  habits,  their  means  of  subsistence,  their 
weapons  and  modes  of  hunting.  We  have  passed  under  view 
what  is  known  of  their  marriage  rites,  their  games,  music  and 
musical  instruments,  and  we  have  not  only  made  the  interesting 
discovery  that  their  artistic  talents  far  surpassed  those  of  all 
other  South  African  races,  but  that  they  had  made  greater 
advances  in  primitive  music  than  any  of  the  intruding  tribes ; 
they  had  invented  a  greater  variety  of  musical  instruments, 
and  there  was  a  greater  compass  and  variation  in  the  refrains 
which  accompanied  their  dances.  We  have,  however,  no- 
thing in  the  Bushman  language,  as  far  as  our  own  inquiries 
have  carried  us,  which  can  compete  with  the  energetic  composi- 
tions found  in  some  of  the  Kaffir  or  Basutu  war-songs.* 

1  The  only  fragment  of  a  Bushman  poem  which  has  been  preserved 
belonging  to  the  eastern  tribes  is  that  given  by  M.  Arbousset  {Voyage 
d'Exploration,  p.  249),  and  by  a  strange  freak  it  is  in  Sesuto,  and  not  Seroa. 
But  as  it  is  unique  as  a  specimen,  we  repeat  it  here  : 
"  Raselepe  u  tlula  yuale-ka  puri 

Raselepe  (i.e.  the  father  of  Selepe)  bounded  like  a  kid  ; 
U  tlula  yuale-ka  pokoa  " 
He  bounded  like  the  kid  of  a  goat." 
The  rest  is  lost. 


When  we  come  to  study  the  nature  of  some  of  their  dances, 
their  funeral  rites,  and  some  of  their  leading  myths,  we  find  that 
they  possessed  a  traditionary  belief  that  at  some  remote  period 
the  connexion  between  man  and  the  lower  animals  was  much 
closer  and  far  more  intimate  than  at  present,  that  they  paid  a 
certain  amount  of  homage  to  some  mysterious  and  powerful  being, 
who  was  by  turns  generous  or  vindictive,  that  they  reverenced 
the  memory  of  their  departed  friends  and  sought  to  propitiate 
their  manes  by  adding  to  the  sacred  heaps  which  covered  their 
graves,  that  they  believed  in  a  future  state  of  existence  wherein 
Bushmen  would  be  punished  or  rewarded  according  as  they  per- 
formed or  neglected  certain  rites  while  upon  earth,  and  that  they 
preserved  among  their  tribes  certain  mysteries  and  mystic  rites 
which  were  revealed  to  none  but  a  privileged  class  called  the 
initiated,  who  alone  were  allowed  to  join  in  certain  dances 
whose  hidden  meaning  was  jealously  withheld  from  those  who 
were  uninitiated,  or  the  profane  vulgar  among  them. 

Unfortunately  whole  tribes  have  been  annihilated  by  the 
stronger  races  which  seized  their  hunting  grounds,  and  the  wise 
men  of  their  race  perished  with  them,  thus  the  knowledge  and 
the  key  of  many  of  these  mysteries,  which  could  they  have  been 
rescued  from  oblivion  might  have  explained  to  us  the  first  stages 
of  the  development  of  more  elaborate  systems  of  religious 
mysticism,  have  perished  also  ;  and  we  are  only  able  to  attempt 
to  grope  our  way  in  a  very  unsatisfactory  manner  through  the 
gloom,  the  fragmentary  ruins,  and  the  few  scattered  and  obscure 
traditions  that  have  survived  the  desolation  of  past  ages. 

Having  thus  far  endeavoured  to  obtain  a  knowledge  of  the 
Bushman  race,  taken  in  its  entirety,  we  wiU  now  strive  to  gather 
as  much  of  the  history  as  may  have  been  preserved  of  the  various 
groups  of  tribes  which  once  inhabited  different  portions  of  the 

Chapter    VIII 


In  reviewing  the  various  groups  of  tribes,  we  will  commence  with 
those  to  the  north,  and  pass  from  them  to  the  western 
portion  of  the  country,  following  up  the  inquiry  through  the 
Karoo  and  Middle  Veld,  thence  to  Griqualand,  the  Southern 
Bachoana  territory,  the  valleys  of  the  Kolong  and  the  Vaal, 
the  present  Free  State,  the  'Nu-Gariep,  Basutuland,  and  the  east ; 
and  finally  noticing  those  of  the  Zuurveld,  concluding  with  as 
much  as  is  known  of  the  life  of  the  last  great  Bushman  captain 
who  ruled  over  that  portion  of  their  ancient  territory  before  the 
Kaffir  tribes  attempted  to  obtain  possession  of  it.  To  avoid 
repetition  as  much  as  possible,  we  will  in  every  case  where  the 
Bushman  history  is  intermixed  with  that  of  the  intruding  races, 
defer  its  consideration  until  we  treat  more  particularly  of  the 
tribes  with  which  they  came  in  contact. 

In  pursuance  of  this  plan  we  will  begin  with 

The  Bushmen  of  Damaraland. 

These  tribes  or  clans  were  visited  by  the  traveller  Chapman 
several  times.  In  1861  he  was  accompanied  by  Baines  ;  and 
from  them  we  are  able  to  glean  a  considerable  amount  of  informa- 
tion. Some  of  these  people  joined  Messrs.  Chapman  and  Baines' 
hunting  party  and  were  glad  to  perform  small  services  for  a  few 
charges  of  powder  and  ball.  They  showed  no  timidity,  nor  in 
fact  any  distrust  or  want  of  confidence.  Living,  as  they  did, 
between  the  Bachoana  tribes  and  the  Hottentots,  and  so  far 
distant  as  to  be  subservient  to  neither,  they  had  more  independ- 
ence of  character  than  their  less  fortunate  countr5anen.  Occa- 
sionally, however,  the  Namaqua  Hottentots  penetrated  as  far 
as  this  portion  of  their  territory  on  hunting  expeditions,  and 


what  with  scouring  the  country  by  day  and  watching  the  water 
at  night,  they  destroyed  such  immense  numbers  of  game  that  they 
almost  exterminated  the  animals  for  miles  around  them.  Mr. 
Baines  in  his  description  of  them  added  that  he  had  not  a  little 
pleasure  in  being  able  to  state  that  the  behaviour  of  the  Bushmen 
who  visited  them  was  civil  and  respectful,  and  they  were  not 
annoyed  by  the  constant  attempts  at  theft  so  common  whilst 
they  were  travelling  through  a  country  occupied  by  other  native 

Some  of  the  women  were  particularly  diminutive,  being  a 
very  few  inches  above  four  feet  in  height.  Their  real  colour  was 
a  light  yellowish  brown,  but  they  were  generally  nearly  black 
with  accumulated  dirt.  The  general  stature  of  the  men  seemed 
to  be  below  five  feet,  but  some  of  them  were  tolerably  well  made, 
and  in  good  condition.  The  only  one  of  the  first  party  they 
met  with  who  exceeded  that  height  was  a  stout  fellow,  with  well- 
developed  muscles,  the  son  of  the  old  chief.  At  another  place, 
however,  some  Bushmen  were  met  with  who  were  nearly  five 
feet  five  or  six  inches  in  height.  This  variation  in  height  was 
in  all  probability  owing  to  some  intermixture  between  these 
particular  Bushman  families  and  some  of  the  Namaqua  hunters 
who  occasionally  penetrated  into  their  country,  in  the  same  manner 
as  we  shall  find  that  half-castes  of  a  similar  description,  more 
or  less  numerous  according  to  the  number  of  the  intruders, 
sprang  up  in  many  portions  of  the  Bushman  territory.  It  seems 
an  established  fact  that  wherever  we  find  such  a  marked  deviation 
from  the  pure  Bushman  type,  the  modification  can  always  be 
traced  to  the  intercourse  alluded  to. 

Baines  noticed  that  one  of  these  Damara  Bushmen  had  a 
tinge  of  red  in  his  cheeks,  while  a  number  of  white  feathers, 
cut  short  and  stuck  in  his  hair  like  curl-papers,  gave  him  almost 
an  effeminate  appearance.  One  of  them  had  the  front  of  a 
secretary  bird's  head  fastened  in  his  crisp  locks,  with  the  beak 
projecting  over  his  forehead  ;  and  another  wore  the  spoils  of  a 
crow  in  the  same  manner.  In  the  general  contour  of  their  bodies 
they  were  similar  to  all  other  Bushmen.  "  The  peculiar  line  of 
beauty  formed  by  the  protuberance  behind,  and  the  necessity  of 
throwing  back  the  shoulders  to  support  the  stomach,  unnaturally 
distended  by  quantities  of  roots,  melons,  and  other  non-nutritious 


food,  has  been  often  remarked."  "  In  some  the  hair  was  shaved 
round  the  temples,  ears,  and  back  of  the  head,  what  remained 
on  the  scalp  being  felted  with  red  clay  and  grease  into  a  thick 
mat,  to  which  ornaments  of  various  kinds,  such  as  beads  and  bits 
of  ostrich  eggshell  of  the  size  of  shirt  buttons,  were  attached 
behind  and  before."  "  A  bit  of  sinew  from  the  backbone  of  a 
beast  formed  a  necklace,  and  small  bands  of  giraffe's  or  elephant's 
hair  were  tied  about  their  limbs,  the  tail  of  the  former  serving  at 
once  as  a  sceptre  and  a  fly-brusher  to  the  old  headman."  Some 
of  them  had  rather  longer  hair  than  the  Bushmen  of  the  Cape 
Colony,  a  small  portion  of  which  was  drawn  out  into  cords  which 
formed  a  fringe  or  curtain  three  inches  long  behind. 

A  belt  from  three  to  six  or  seven  inches  in  width,  which  was 
worn  by  some  of  the  young  women,  consisted  of  small  circular 
pieces  of  ostrich  eggshell  bored  in  the  centre,  strung  like  buttons 
with  their  flat  sides  together,  the  cords  were  then  laid  side  by  side 
until  they  formed  a  belt  of  the  required  width  ;  and  to  support 
them  in  its  proper  shape,  stiff  pieces  of  leather  were  stitched 
behind  like  whalebone  in  a  corset.  In  making  one  of  these 
an  immense  amount  of  time  and  labour  must  have  been  ex- 
pended, as  the  shell,  which  is  naturally  very  hard,  had  first  to  be 
boiled  and  softened  in  cold  water,  then  cut  into  small  pieces  through 
which  a  hole  was  pierced  with  a  little  flint  or  agate  drill,  then  rubbed 
into  small  rings  like  beads  and  polished,  which  were  afterwards 
threaded  in  the  manner  described. 

No  other  race  except  that  of  the  Bushmen  had  either  the  skill 
or  the  patience  to  manufacture  these  beads,  which  is  certainly  a 
mark  of  their  indomitable  industry  and  perseverance  when  any 
occasion  called  them  forth.  After  the  stronger  races  came  in 
contact  with  the  Bushman  bead-makers,  they  used  to  purchase 
these  pierced  discs  of  eggshell  from  the  latter  for  small  pieces  of 

Besides  these  bead-belts  the  other  portion  of  the  Damara 
Bushwomen's  dress  consisted  of  a  fringed  apron  in  front  arid  a 
small  piece  of  soft  skin  behind.  It  was  remarked  that  they 
"  were  much  cleaner  in  their  food  than  the  Damara  or  Bachoana, 
the  facility  of  obtaining  fresh  meat  freeing  them  from  the  neces- 
sity of  eating  everything  that  came  to  hand."  Those  seen  by 
these  travellers  not  being  smeared  with  grease,  except  in  "  their 

140  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

matted  hair,  were  far  less  unpleasant  to  sit  near  than  the 

The  arrows  were  carried  in  neat  quivers  of  bark  served  round 
with  sinew,  the  whole  with  the  bow  being  carried  in  a  buck-skin, 
the  neck  of  which  was  bound  tightly  round  the  quiver,  while  the 
legs  served  as  belts  to  sling  it  round  their  shoulders.  Baines 
states  that  there  was  a  "  manly  bearing  about  these  fellows 
which  he  could  not  help  but  admire."  Besides  their  bow  and 
quiver,  the  Bushmen  carried  in  their  velzak  their  fire-sticks, 
sucking-reed  for  drinking  water,  sinew  for  thread,  bone  -awls, 
and  a  number  of  other  implements. 

In  1861  these  Bushmen  not  only  headed  their  arrows  with 
bone,  but  also  with  iron.^  The  latter,  however,  was  only  a  recent 
innovation,  as  the  fact  has  already  been  pointed  out  that  Mr. 
Palgrave  found  at  the  time  of  his  first  visit  quartz  and  agate  chips 
were  used  by  the  northern  tribes  for  this  purpose.  To  preserve 
the  points  from  injury,  the  bone  heads  were  reversed  while  carry- 
ing them  in  the  quiver,  that  is,  "  the  sharp  envenomed  point 
was  inserted  into  the  end  of  the  reed  forming  the  shaft,"  and 
replaced  in  its  proper  position  immediately  before  being  used. 
Thus  when  a  beast  was  hit,  the  reed  shaft  fell  off,  like  that  of  a 
harpoon,  leaving  the  poisoned  head  fast  in  the  victim.  The 
iron  head  on  the  other  hand,  "  with  a  sharp  chisel  edge  a  quarter 
of  an  inch  broad,  was  carefully  wrapped  up  by  itself  in  bark 
or  sinew,  and  was  said  to  be  specially  reserved  for  the  giraffe." 
The  bow  was  strung  with  neatly  twisted  sinew,  looped  at  one 
end  and  rolled  round  it  at  the  other  in  such  a  manner  that  by 
merely  turning  it  in  the  hand,  as  if  it  were  the  thread  of  a  screw, 
it  could  be  tightened  or  relaxed  at  pleasure.  The  bow  was 
three  quarters  of  an  inch  thick,  and  httle,  if  at  all,  more  than 
three  feet  long.  It  looked  more  like  a  plaything  than  a  formid- 
able weapon,  but  it  required,  nevertheless,  a  stronger  pull  than 
those  of  the  Damara  to  bend  it.  In  obtaining  fire  two  sticks  of 
moderately  hard  wood  were  chosen,  in  one  a  little  thicker  than 
a  pencil  a  small  notch  was  made,  and  into  this  the  point  of  another 
somewhat  harder  and  thinner  was  inserted.     This  was  made 

1  We  have  already  shown  that  the  Bushmen  obtained  such  iron  as 
they  used  by  barter,  as  they  never  appear  to  have  possessed  the  know- 
ledge of  smelting  it  from  the  ore  and  working  it  themselves. 


to  revolve  rapidly  between  the  palms  of  the  hands,  until  suffi- 
cient heat  was  gained  to  ignite  a  small  tuft  of  carefully  selected 
dry  grass.'  When  one  failed  to  produce  fire  in  this  manner, 
another  sat  opposite,  and  as  the  hands  of  the  first  came  to  the 
bottom  of  the  stick  the  second  caught  it  above  and  kept  up  the 
motion  until  the  first  one  had  raised  his  hand  again. 

It  appears  that  the  Bushmen  had  a  distinguishing  appella- 
tion for  every  pit  and  spring  of  water.  This  was  noticed  to  be 
especially  the  case  in  the  Kalahari  region  :  thus  the  one  named 
"  Stink  Fontein  "  by  Anderson  was  called  'Thouncehy  the  Bush- 
men, and  by  the  Bachoana  Letje-piri,  both  signifying  "  the 
Fountain  of  the  Hyena."  It  is  to  be  regretted  that  so  many 
travellers  attach  names  of  their  own  to  a  multitude  of  localities, 
instead  of  ascertaining  wherever  practicable  the  one  by  which 
it  is  designated  by  the  natives,  as  their  modem  nomenclature 
cannot  possibly  assist  those  who  may  follow  their  footsteps, 
the  natives  being  ignorant  of  the  new  titles  thus  given  to  them 
by  the  foreign  visitors. 

Chapman  found  the  Bushmen  of  this  part  of  the  country 
extending  into  Ovambo-Land,  and  Bushmen  alone  occupied  the 
intervening  country  to  Lake  Ngami. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Ngami  Region. 

The  country  to  the  north  of  the  Kalahari,  and  between 
Damaraland  and  Ngami,  was  a  region  fuU  of  pans  and  plains, 
very  similar  to  those  which  form  the  great  central  portion  of  the 

^  Mr.  Palgrave  informed  the  writer  that  during  his  first  journeys  along 
the  west  coast  and  the  west  interior,  the  sight  of  fire  suddenly  bursting 
from  the  end  of  a  lucifer  match  created  the  greatest  astonishment,  and 
the  possession  of  two  or  three  of  them  they  looked  upon  as  an  invaluable 
treasure. ,  On  one  occasion,  being  encamped  near  the  kraal  of  a  chief, 
he  thought  that  he  would  amuse  and  surprise  them  by  firing  off  a  rocket 
in  the  evening.  He  did  so,  and  immediately  there  was  a  hubbub,  con- 
sternation, and  panic  among  the  terrified  inhabitants,  succeeded  in  a 
few  moments  by  a  death-like  stillness.  In  the  morning  he  found  the 
place  abandoned,  every  soul,  man,  woman,  and  child,  had  fled,  leaving 
all  their  worldly  gear  behind  them.  For  three  days  no  trace  of  them  could 
be  discovered,  when  a  few  stragglers  were  seen,  and  the  retreat  of  the  rest 
found  out ;  but  even  then  it  was  with  dif&culty  they  could  be  persuaded 
to  return,  and  not  before  Mr.  Palgrave  had  given  a  promise  to  the  chief 
that  he  would  not  again  attempt  to  knock  any  more  stars  out  of  the  heaven 
as  long  as  he  was  in  the  country. 

142  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

old  lacustrine  formation  in  part  of  Griqualand  West  and  the 
Cape  Colony,  and  to  which  in  the  latter  their  brethren  gave 
the  general  name  of  Karoo,  a  designation  which  by  a  coincidence 
the  northern  Bushmen  have  also  given  to  the  country  which  they 
inhabit.  These  people,  as  was  probably  at  one  time  the  case 
in  the  lower  country,  have  given  special  names  to  all  the  great 
pans,  three  of  which  are  'Goo-i-naw,  Sa-ba-'tho,  and  'Karoo 


Mr.  Baines  found  Bushmen  as  far  as  he  travelled  to  the  north- 
west of  the  lake,  they  were  known  by  the  name  of  Ma-'kow-'kow 
to  the  lake  people  who  live  to  the  north-west  of  the  Bataoana, 
or  Batauana,  the  Men  of  the  young  Lions.  Most  of  them  are 
armed  with  the  large  assagai,  or  rather  spear,  as  it  is  not  intended 
for  throwing,  as  well  as  the  bow  and  arrow.  The  former  appear 
to  be  used  principally  in  elephant  hunting.  Large  weapons  of 
this  character  were  manufactured  for  this  express  purpose,  and 
called  elephant  spears  by  the  Bamangwato  and  Mashuna  tribes, 
who  are  considered  the  great  blacksmiths  of  the  interior.  Those, 
■however,  possessed  by  these  Bushmen  were  not  of  the  same 
gigantic  dimensions  as  some  of  the  others  belonging  to  the 
tribes  alluded  to,  having  a  blade  of  only  some  eight  inches  in 
length  and  two  in  breadth,  with  a  strong  shaft  of  five  or  six 
feet.  They  had  also  kerries,  or  knobbed  sticks,  of  hard  black 
wood  like  the  Ovambo. 

When  they  had  a  desire  to  show  that  they  were  friendly,  many 
of  them  would  lay  down  their  weapons  and  sandals  a  long  way 
off  before  approaching  those  they  were  visiting.  A  similar 
custom  was  observed  among  the  painter-tribes,  and  is  found 
depicted  in  some  of  their  paintings  representing  friendly  inter- 
views. They  carried  sticks  for  producing  fire.  Their  cookery 
was  simple,  yet  not  without  method.  Their  favourite  plan  was 
to  dig  a  hole  with  a  sharp  stick  under  the  fire,  and  in  this  to  cover 
up  the  food  with  hot  ashes.  Thus  one  of  them  placed  "  several 
good-sized  prickly  melons  like  ostrich  eggs  in  a  nest,  and  though 
they  are  generally  bitter  before  they  are  cooked,  yet  after  it 
they  came  out  very  juicy  and  agreeable."  Another  method  was 
to  roast,  or  rather  broil,  the  meat  on  a  stick,  which  acted  as  a 
temporary  spit. 

These  Bushmen  could  work  very  tastefully  with  beads,  and  wore 


their  medicines  and  roots  as  necklaces  round  their  necks.  One 
of  them  had  a  spiral  tuft  made  of  the  ends  of  black  ostrich  feathers 
with  short  pieces  of  the  stems  tied  together,  the  filaments  radiat- 
ing from  them  so  as  to  form  a  perfect  globe  of  jetty  hue,  which  he 
wore  as  an  ornament  on  his  head.  Their  colour  was  a  light  sienna 
brown,  very  different  from  the  sallow  dry-leaf  colour  of  the  Bush- 
men of  the  Cape  Colony.  All  the  large  game  pits  near  the  lake  were 
exclusively  the  work  of  the  Makobas  and  Bushmen,  as  it  is  in 
some  parts  of  the  Kalahari.  Their  spade  was  the  national 
digging-stick  of  the  Bushmen.  The  water  at  which  any  chief 
or  headman  of  these  Bushmen  drank  was  soon  known  by  his 
name,  and  his  successor  in  the  post,  as  a  matter  of  convenience, 
continued  to  bear  it. 

"  In  this  manner,  perhaps,"  says  Mr.  Baines,  "  a  series  of 
stations  along  the  pools  in  a  river  will  have  separate  names, 
and  thus  a  European  arriving  at  one  of  them,  if  not  aware  of  the 
custom,  applies  to  the  stream  the  name  given  to  him  where  he 
strikes  it ;  another  in  like  manner  applies,  as  a  general  name, 
the  word  he  hears  at  the'  next  post ;  and  in  this  manner  contra- 
dictory and  confused  statements  are  made  upon  the  maps,  and 
the  new  comer  who  uses  these  in  conversation  to  the  natives 
will  be  guided  not  where  he  wants  to  go,  but  to  the  spot  where 
the  word  he  happens  to  use  is  properly  applicable." 

The  watering-place  called  Kobis  and  Koobie  by  Chapman  and 
Baines  was  named  after  a  Bushman  formerly  living  there,  and 
his  son  afterwards  bore  the  same  name.  Some  of  the  Bushmen 
were  in  a  state  of  vassalage  to  the  neighbouring  Bachoana 
tribes,  and  were  supposed  to  form  a  sort  of  outposts  around  the 
territories  of  the  latter,  to  give  the  alarm  in  case  of  any  mar- 
auders making  their  appearance  in  the  direction  in  which  they 
were  stationed.  Leshulatibi,  the  chief  of  Lake  Ngami,  claimed 
a  kind  of  sovereignty  over  some  of  the  clans  living  nearest  to 
the  country  in  which  he  resided,  and  although,  as  we  have  seen, 
many  of  these  northern  Bushmen  were  living  in  a  state  of  isolation 
and  perfect  independence,  those  living  on  the  borders  of  this 
territory,  and  who  were  thus  brought  into  contact  with  stronger 
races,  were  treated  by  the  latter  with  the  same  merciless  barbarity 
as  elsewhere.  The  chief  we  have  just  mentioned  not  only  asserted 
a  kind  of  sovereignty  over  them,  but  demanded  of  them  as  a 

144  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

species  of  tribute  the  tusks  of  all  the  elephants  which  they  killed 
in  hunting  ;  those  near  his  great  place  were  held  in  a  state  of 
abject  servitude,  and  subjected  to  the  greatest  cruelty. 

On  one  occasion,  two  horses  having  been  suffocated  in  a  quag- 
mire, he  ordered  the  two  Bushmen  who  had  charge  of  them  to  be 
bound  to  them  and  thrust  back  again  into  the  morass,  with  an 
injunction  not  to  lose  the  horses  again. 

Again,  in  1854,  when  this  chief  was  attacked  by  Sekeletu, 
the  son  of  Sebitoane,  and  the  last  of  the  Makololo  chiefs,  the 
Bushmen  on  this  side  thought  it  was  a  good  chance  to  sweep  off 
a  lot  of  his  cattle.  His  people  could  neither  pursue,  nor  dare 
engage  these  "  black  serpents  "  of  the  desert,  so  after  a  while  he 
dropped  a  hint  that  he  supposed  they  thought  he  was  dead 
and  the  cattle  without  a  master,  that  they  were  hungry,  and  that 
now  the  affair  was  forgotten.  He  then  sent  a  man  with  tobacco 
to  buy  skins  of  them,  and  having  by  a  long  course  of  deceitful 
kindness  lulled  their  suspicions,  he  proclaimed  a  grand  battue. 
Of  course  the  quarry  was  the  Bushmen  themselves,  who  were 
surprised,  disarmed,  and  brought  before  him  where  he  was  sitting 
on  his  veld-stool.  He  superintended  the  deliberate  cutting  of 
their  throats,  embittering  their  last  moments  by  every  taunt 
and  sarcasm  his  imagination  could  supply.  One  of  the 
actors  in  this  bloody  drama  was  afterwards  in  Chapman's 
service,  and  "  related  with  great  gusto  the  part  he  had  sus- 
tained in  it." 

Baines  states  that  some  of  these  Bushmen  in  the  immediate 
vicinity  of  the  Lake  were  fine  fellows,  six  feet  high.  Livingstone 
also  visited  these  people,  and  tells  us  that  he  found  many  Bush 
families  living  at  a  place  far  to  the  north  called  Matlomaganyana 
or  the  Links,  a  chain  of  never-failing  springs,  who  unlike  those 
of  the  plains  of  the  Kalahari,  who  are  generally  of  short  stature 
and  light  yellow  colour,  were  tall  strapping  fellows  of  dark  com- 
plexion. Heat  alone  does  not  produce  blackness,  but  heat  with 
moisture,  says  the  doctor,  "  seems  to  insure  the  deepest  hue." 
Baines,  however,  considered  they  were  half-castes,  like  the  Bas- 
taard  Hottentots  of  the  Colony,  while  Moffat  says  that  the  Bush- 
men who  are  "  the  most  northerly,  exist  among  the  inhabited  re- 
gions, where  they  remain  perfectly  distinct,  and  what  is  very 
remarkable,  do    not    become  darker    in  their  complexion,  as 


is  the  case  with  all  the  other  tribes  that  inhabit  the  torrid  zone." 

The  explanation  of  this  apparent  divergence  is  doubtless  to 
be  traced,  as  in  other  well-authenticated  cases,  to  an  admixture 
of  foreign  blood,  rather  than  to  mere  variations  of  climatical 
conditions  upon  such  nomads  as  some  of  the  branches  of  this  old 
hunter  race,  especially  as  we  find  such  an  admixture  taking  place 
upon  other  border  lines,  where  other  Bushman  tribes  have  been 
thrown  in  contact  with  the  stronger  races  that  were  being  im- 
pelled upon  them. 

In  Livingstone's  second  visit  we  obtain  some  further  par- 
ticulars about  this  half-caste  tribe.  He  met  them  at  Rapesh, 
under  a  captain  named  Haroye.  "  He  and  some  others  were  at 
least  six  feet  high,  and  of  a  darker  complexion  than  the  Bushmen 
of  the  south.  They  frequented  the  Zouga,  and  had  always  plenty 
of  food  and  water.  They  were  a  merry  laughing  set."  From 
some  of  their  observances  they  appeared  to  regard  the  dead  as 
still  in  another  state  of  living,  for  they  requested  one  whom  they 
were  burying  "  not  to  be  offended,  even  though  they  wished  to 
remain  a  little  longer  in  the  world."  These  Bushmen  killed 
many  elephants,  which  they  hunted  by  night  when  the  moon  was 
full,  for  the  sake  of  the  coolness.  They  chose  the  moment 
succeeding  a  charge,  when  the  animal  was  out  of  breath,  to  run  in 
and  give  him  a  stab  with  their  long-bladed  spears. 

The  Bushmen  of  Ngami  reported  that  others  of  their  race 
existed  much  farther  to  the  north.  Some  of  these  men  joined 
Mr.  Baines'  expedition,  and  one  of  his  attendants,  "  though  he 
knew  one  dialect  of  the  Bushman  language,  could  not  understand 
theirs.  At  length  a  Damara  was  found  who  could  carry  on  some 
sort  of  conversation  with  them,  when  they  stated  "  that  their 
chief  lived  very  far  to  the  north  and  hunted  elephants  with  dogs 
near  a  very  great  water,  the  distance  of  which  seemed  to  increase 
every  time  they  were  asked  about  it." 

We  have  already  seen  that  the  Bushmen  of  the  north  apply 
the  same  appellation  to  a  portion  of  the  country  in  which  they 
live  as  do  those  of  the  Middle  Veld  of  the  Cape  Colony,  viz. 
Karoo.  Livingstone  met  with  another  instance  among  those  in 
the  far  interior  where  a  name  was  used  which  was  identical  with  one 
employed  by  the  tribes  of  the  south.  The  spot  aUuded  to  was 
called  'Kama-kama,  or  Pools,  Pools,  that  is,  'a  chain  of  pools,' 

146  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

while  we  find  Kisi  'kama  on  the  Vaal,  near  'Gong-'Gong, '  'Keis 
or  Khais-kama  in  British  Kaffraria,  ' Kragga-' kama  near  Port 
EHzabeth,  ' Ziet-zei-kama  on  the  border  of  the  district  of  George, 
and  a  number  of  others.  Now  as  it  is  certain  that  no  Hottentot 
tribes  ever  hved  in  the  country  where  the  Bushman  'Kama-' kama  is 
found,  the  name  could  not  have  been  derived  from  them,  but 
must  have  been  of  pure  Bushman  origin.  We  have  therefore 
reason  to  conclude  that  Kama  was  originally  a  Bushman,  and  not 
a  Hottentot  word  ;  and  that  therefore  the  names  given  above, 
belonging  to  these  widely  separated  localities,  were  of  Bushman 
nomenclature  also. 

This  similarity  of  words  used  by  distant  tribes  that  have  been 
cut  off  and  isolated  for  unknown  generations  from  each  other, 
is  another  link  in  the  chain  of  corroborative  evidence  of  the 
southern  migration  of  the  old  hunter-race. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Kalahari. 

The  Kalahari  extends  from  the  Orange  river,  29°  south 
latitude,  to  near  Lake  Ngami  in  the  north,  and  from  24°  east 
longitude  to  near  the  west  coast.  It  is  intersected  by  beds 
of  ancient  rivers,  yet  it  contains  no  running  waters,  and  very 
little  in  wells.  Most  of  the  latter  are  in  the  ancient  river-beds, 
but  the  water  never  rises  now  to  the  surface.  The  ancient  Mokolo, 
found  towards  the  north  of  this  region,  must  have  been  joined  by 
rivers  lower  down,  as  it  becomes  broad  and  expands  into  a  large 
bed,  of  which  the  present  Lake  Ngami  forms  but  a  very  small 
part.  Large  salt  pans  are  also  met  with  in  this  portion,  one  of 
which,  visited  by  Dr.  Livingstone,  was  fifteen  miles  broad  and 
one  hundred  long  ;  in  another  there  was  a  cake  of  salt  and  lime, 
an  inch  and  a  half  thick.  Some  of  the  pans  were  covered  with 
shells  identical  with  those  found  in  Lake  Ngami  and  the  Zouga. 
This  traveller  therefore  considered  it  probable  that  the  salt  was 
the  leavings  of  slightly  brackish  lakes  of  antiquity,  large  portions 
of  which  must  have  been  dried  out  in  the  general  desiccation. 

The  Kalahari  proper  is  covered  with  grass  and  creeping  plants, 

^  Gong-Gong  is  the  Bushman  name  for  a  waterfall,  over  which  all  the 
waters  of  the  Vaal  rush  ;  and  is  explained  by  them  to  imitate  its  noise 
Gong-Gong,  Gong-Gong,  Gong-Gong. 


and  in  some  parts  patches  of  bushes  and  even  trees.  It  is  re- 
markably flat,  and  prodigious  herds  of  antelopes  wander  over 
its  surface.  Here  the  Bushmen  live  from  choice,  and  the 
Bakalahari  from  compulsion.  '  "  The  Bushmen,"  writes  Living- 
stone, "  are  distinct  in  language,  race,  habits,  and  appearance, 
and  are  the  real  nomads  of  the  country.  They  never  cultivate 
the  soil,  or  rear  animals  save  wretched  dogs.  They  are  inti- 
mately acquainted  with  the  habits  of  the  game,  and  chiefly  sub- 
sist on  their  flesh  eked  out  by  the  roots,  and  beans,  and  fruits  of 
the  desert.  Those  who  inhabit  the  hot  sandy  plains  have 
generally  thin  wiry  forms,  and  are  capable  of  great  exertion 
and  severe  privations.  Many  are  of  low  stature,  although  not 
dwarfish."  "  That  they  are,"  continues  the  doctor,  "  to  some 
extent  like  'baboons  is  true,  just  as  these  are  in  some  points 
frightfully  human. '^ 

The  inhabitants  of  the  Kalahari  frequently  "  hide  their 
supplies  of  water,  by  filling  the  pits  with  sand."  In  the  olden 
times  the  Bushmen  who  inhabited  those  portions  of  the  country 
*  now  comprised  in  the  Cape  Colony  used  to  do  the  same,  merely 
leaving  a  small  reed  pipe  through  which  they  sucked  up  their 
supplies.  One  reason  given  by  the  Colonial  Bushmen  for  this 
custom  of  covering  up  the  springs  was  that  there  might  be  fewer 
places  for  the  game  to  drink,  and  thus  they  were  able  to 
watch  the  more  easily  the  remaining  drinking  places  when 
hunting.  Ostrich  eggshells  furnished  them  with  water-bottles, 
in  which  to  carry  the  fluid  to  the  place  of  their  haUnt.  At 
Kanne,  beyond  Letloche,  Livingstone  found  one  of  these  "  suck- 
ing-places," around  which  were  congregated  great  numbers 
of  Bushwomen  with  their  eggshells  and  reeds.  At  one  of  the 
stations  in  the  desert,  named  Boatlanama,  were  deep  wells,  in 
the  neighbourhood  of  which  was  an  abundance  of  pallahs,  spring- 
boks, guinea-fowl,  and  small  monkeys. 

The  game  which  frequented  these  wilds  in  large  numbers  were 
elands,  duikers,  steenboks,  gemsboks,  and  porcupines,  all  able 
to  exist  without  water  for  a  long  time,  living  on  bulbs  and  tubers 
containing  moisture.  The  koodoo,  springbok,  and  ostrich  can 
live  where  there  is  moisture  in  the  vegetation  on  which  they  feed. 
The  rhinoceros,  buffalo,  gnu,  giraffe,  zebra,  and  pallah  are  never 
seen  except  in  the  vicinity  of  water.     There  were  likewise  two 

148  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

species  of  jackals,  the  dark  and  the  golden,  a  small  ocelot,  the 
lynx,  the  wild-cat,  and  others,  besides  lions,  leopards,  panthers, 
and  hyenas. 

The  desert  was  a  refuge  for  many  a  tribe  when  their  lands 
were  overrun  by  the  ferocious  Matabili. 

The  natives  of  the  Kalahari,  the  Bushmen  and  Bakalahari, 
eat  some  of  the  snakes  which  are  found  in  their  country,  such  as 
the  python.  The  largest  of  these  are  from  fifteen  to  twenty  feet 
in  length.  They  live  on  small  animals,  chiefly  the  rodentia, 
although  occasionally  steenboks  or  pallahs  fall  victims.  They 
are  harmless  to  man.  One  was  shot  by  Dr.  Livingstone  about 
eleven  feet  ten  inches  long  and  as  thick  as  a  man's  leg.  The 
flesh,  he  states,  was  much  relished  by  the  Bakalahari  and  the 
Bushmen,  each  carrying  away  his  portion  on  his  shoulder  hke 
a  log  of  wood.  The  Kaffirs,  on  the  other  hand,  hold  these  ser- 
pents in  superstitious  dread,  believing  they  are  animated  by  the 
spirit  of  some  great  chief  ;  and  in  former  days  any  person  destroy- 
ing one  was  punished  with  death. 

In  rainy  seasons.  Chapman  informs  us,  there  is  an  abundant 
supply  of  water  in  the  Kalahari,  but  frequently  when  the  super- 
ficial moisture  has  dried  away,  its  existence  is  only  known  to  the 
Bushmen,  who  suck  it  from  the  damp  sand  several  feet  below 
the  surface  by  means  of  a  tube  of  reed  buried  in  it,  having  a 
sponge-like  tuft  of  grass  inserted  at  the  end. 

At  one  of  their  camps,  where  they  appeared  to  have  nothing 
to  live  upon  but  water,  they  were  asked  how  they  managed  to 
be  so  fat.  It  proved  that  their  principal  article  of  diet  was  the 
iguana,  which  happened  to  be  very  plentiful  in  the  neighbourhood. 
The  Bushmen  trace  them  by  their  spoor  or  trail  to  the  hole  they 
inhabit,  and  then  dig  them  out,  after  which  they  stew  the  flesh 
nicely,  stamp  it  fine,  and  mix  it  with  the  fat  and  eggs  of  the 
reptile,  which  makes  a  savoury  and  nourishing  dish.  These  huge 
land  lizards  are  from  three  to  four  feet  long,  while  another  larger 
kind  is  about  six.  They  are  quite  distinct  from  the  water  kind, 
which  are  of  a  darker  and  lighter  colour,  and  have  the  tail 
laterally  compressed  hke  the  crocodile  to  aid  them  in  steering  under 
water.  These  Kalahari  lizards  are  of  a  pale  raw  sienna  ground- 
colour, irregulariy  marked  down  the  back  with  brown  lozenge- 
shaped  patches,  with  small  spots  between.    They  ascend  and 


descend  trees  with  great  rapidity.  When  irritated  they  not  only 
defend  themselves,  but  attack  and  give  chase  to  man,  when  they 
erect  their  tails  and  expand  their  cheeks,  which  are  of  a  pale 
cobalt  blue.  They  dart  out  their  long  forked  tongues  with  great 
rapidity  like  a  snake,  and  inflict  severe  blows  with  their  tails, 
or  bite  ;  but  their  bite  is  not  venomous. 

The  precarious  hfe  led  by  the  Kalahari  Bushmen  was  strikingly 
shown  by  the  vast  difference  in  the  appearance  of  the  inhabitants 
of  the  various  encampments  ;  some  were  fat  and  plump,  others 
the  most  pitiable  objects  imaginable,  men,  women,  and  children 
shrivelled  with  hunger.  The  conditions  of  their  existence  and 
the  sudden  vicissitudes  to  which  they  were  exposed,  must  doubt- 
less have  rendered  their  life  one  that  was  constantly  veering 
between  a  feast  and  a  famine. 

"When  food  is  plentiful,"  says  Chapman,  "the  Bushmen 
seem  to  be  the  happiest  of  mortals  in  their  simple  state,  and  in 
their  parched  wilds,  which  just  give  what  life  requires,  but  give 
no  more."  The  wide  desert  with  its  life  of  comparative  freedom 
imparts  even  to  the  civilized  white  man  a  degree,  not  exactly  of 
happiness,  but  of  freedom  from  care  and  anxiety,  which  it  is 
hardly  possible  to  obtain  in  a  civilized  state  of  society. 

This  sense  of  freedom,  however,  was  not  the  only  enjoyment 
which  these  Bushmen  possessed  ;  for  the  excitement  of  the  chase 
was  their  greatest  gloryj  The  huntsmen  of  the  Kalahari  con- 
structed great  lines  of  fences  and  a  continuous  series  of  pitfalls, 
which,  when  we  consider  the  primitive  and  imperfect  tools  at 
their  disposal  to  carry  out  such  extensive  works,  requiring  so  large 
an  amount  of  labour  to  accomplish,  must  excite  our  wonder, 
if  it  does  not  arouse  our  admiration  of  their  perseverance  and 
enduring  energy,  which  such  achievements  unquestionably 

These  fences  and  pitfaUs,  which  were  called  telle- kello  by  the 
Bushmen,  were  formed  by  long  funnel-shaped  fences  converging 
towards  a  certain  point,  in  the  gorge  or  apex  of  which  a  large 
pitfall  of  a  particular  construction  was  placed.  When  these 
works  were  completed  and  a  grand  battue  was  decided  upon,  the 
Bushmen  commenced  to  watch  in  shelters  adjacent  to  the  telle- 
'kello  fences,  in  which  during  the  daytime  a  large  fire  of  hard 
wood  was  made.     In  the  evening  the  hunters  covered  up  the 


burning  embers,  and  a  gentle  warmth  for  a  certain  distance 
within  their  influence  was  imparted  to  the  iatmosphere  around. 
During  the  day  large  clubs  of  touchwood  were  prepared,  generally 
from  some  decayed  baobab,  and  when  at  night  the  game  poured 
down  to  the  water,  the  huntsmen  rushed  out  on  either  side  from 
their  places  of  concealment,  extending  themselves  towards  either 
end  of  the  funnel-shaped  fences,  at  the  entrance  they  threw  the 
clubs  which  they  had  previously  ignited  at  the  panic-stricken 
animals  as  they  tried  to  avoid  entering  between  the  two  fences. 
The  burning  brands  caused  them  to  change  their  course,  until 
at  last  the  startled  animals  rushed  between  the  fatal  fences,  which 
gradually  narrowed  as  they  advanced,  increasing  at  the  same 
time  in  height  and  strength. 

The  demoniac  yells  and  blazing  firebrands  of  their  pursuers 
added  to  the  terror  and  consequent  speed  with  which  the  hinder- 
most  were  impelled  onward,  until  at  length,  when  their  terror 
was  at  its  height,  between  the  highest  part  of  the  fences  an  escape 
seemed  at  hand,  by  the  opening  in  front.  Men  on  either  side 
guarded  the  fences  so  that  they  did  not  break  through,  and  with 
one  terrific  bound  they  leaped  the  low  fence  fronting  the  pit  and 
were  swallowed  in  the  treacherous  abyss  into  which  they  were 
precipitated  one  upon  another,  until  the  whole  presented  an 
indescribable  chaos  of  writhing,  smothering,  tortured  animals.  The 
pit  was  fiUed  with  probably  from  fifty  to  a  hundred  head  of  game, 
and  the  living  made  their  escape  by  trampling  over  the  dying, 
while  the  delighted  and  triumphant  Bushmen  rushed  in,  spear  in 
hand,  and  slew  the  uppermost  as  they  were  struggling  to  escape. 

Chapman  states  that  there  was  a  sociability  about  these 
Bushmen  which  was  not  always  found  among  the  members  of 
tribes  of  other  native  races,  thus  when  the  larger  game  was  scarce 
they  would  hunt  all  day  for  roots,  bulbs,  tortoises,  etc.,  and  then 
in  the  evening  meet  together  to  share  and  devour  the  spoils. 

He  also  mentions  another  trait  in  their  character,  that  few 
who  know  the  special  weaknesses  of  the  Hottentot  race  would  be 
inclined  to  give  them  credit  for.  He  states  that  the  Bushmen 
generally  were  less  corrupt  in  their  morals  than  any  of  the  larger 
congregated  tribes,  excepting  when  they  had  been  long  in  close 
contact  with  them.  They  lived  comparatively  chaste  hves, 
and  their  women  were  not  at  all  flattered  by  the  attention  of  their 


Bachoana  lords.  Instead  of  an  honour,  they  looked  upon  in- 
tercourse with  any  one  out  of  their  tribe,  no  matter  how  superior, 
as  a  degradation. 

As  the  Kalahari  tribes  have  been  occupying  a  country, 
probably  from  a  remote  past,  which  has  been  removed  from  the 
great  lines  of  migration  of  the  stronger  races,  they  have  remained 
more  perfectly  isolated  than  any  other  portion  of  the  Bushman 
family,  and  have  probably,  in  consequence,  retained  their  habits 
and  modes  of  thought  with  less  alteration  and  innovation  than 
any  others. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  West. 
It  would  appear  from  the  frequent  occurrence  of  stone  im- 
plements used  by  the  Bushmen  and  the  scattered  remains  of 
some  of  their  paintings,  that,  until  the  intrusion  of  the  pastoral 
Hottentots,  the  entire  coimtry  to  the  shores  of  the  Atlantic  was 
occupied  by  them,  and  that  after  that  intrusion,  although  many 
retired  more  to  the  eastward,  a  considerable  number  clung  to  the 
mountain  strongholds  of  their  old  land,  and  kept  up  a  continuous 
warfare  against  the  invaders,  which  ever  increased  in  intensity 
until,  from  the  exasperation  which  it  engendered,  it  became  a 
struggle  characterized  by  peculiar  vindictiveness.  Some  of  the 
weaker  clans  in  like  manner  sought  an  asylum  among  the  rocks 
and  sohtudes  of  the  sea  coast. 

Some  of  these  last  still  survived  in  1779,  and  were  then  visited 
by  a  party  of  travellers  composed  of  Colonel  Gordon,  Lieutenant 
Paterson,  Sebastian  and  Jacobus  van  Reenen,  and  a  Mr.  Pienaar, 
while  fortunately  Lieutenant  Paterson  put  on  record  what  they 
saw  of  them.  He  states  that  they  reached  the  Great  river  after 
being  nine  days  in  crossing  the  arid  and  desolate  country  they 
had  travelled  through,  and  frequently  being  more  than  two  days 
together  without  obtaining  a  drop  of  water.  On  the  banks  of 
the  river  they  observed  several  old  uninhabited  huts,  where  there 
were  numbers  of  baboons'  bones  with  those  of  various  other  wild 
beasts.  Colonel  Gordon  launched  his  boat,  hoisted  the  Dutch 
colours,  first  drank  to  the  States'  health,  then  that  of  the  Prince 
of  Orange  and  the  Company,  after  which  he  gave  the  river  the 
name  of  Orange,  in  honour  of  that  prince. 

Crossing  the  river  near  its  mouth,  they  came  upon  a  great 

i52  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

number  of  huts  which  were  uninhabited.  They  were  much 
superior  to  those  built  by  the  generaUty  of  the  Bushmen,  they 
were  loftier  and  were  thatched  with  grass  and  furnished  with 
stools  made  of  the  back  bones  of  the  grampus.  The  tribe  that 
inhabited  them  must  have  at  one  time  been  numerous,^  although 
at  the  time  of  Paterson's  visit  only  eleven  members  of  it  were  to 
be  found  there.  A  Namaqua  woman  was  living  among  them. 
They  were  styled  Shore-Bushmen,  and  were  living  under  a  chief 
called  'Cout.  Their  mode  of  Uving  was  wretched  in  the  highest 
degree,  and  they  were  apparently  the  dirtiest  of  all  the  Hottentot 
tribes.  They  had  all  cut  off  the  first  joint  of  the  little  finger. 
Their  dress  was  composed  of  the  skins  of  seals  and  jackals,  the 
flesh  of  which  they  ate. 

Their  principal  food  appeared  to  be  fish,  which  was  found 
suspended  from  poles.  When  a  grampus  was  cast  on  shore,  they 
removed  their  huts  to  the  place,  and  subsisted  upon  it  as  long  as 
any  part  of  it  remained,  and  in  this  manner  it  sometimes  afiorded 
them  subsistence  for  several  months,  though  in  a  great  measure 
decayed  and  putrified  in  the  sun.  They  smeared  their  bodies 
with  oil  or  train,  the  odour  of  which  was  so  powerful  that  their 
approach  was  perceived  some  time  before  they  presented  them- 
selves in  sight.  They  carried  water  in  the  shells  of  ostrich  eggs 
and  the  bladders  of  seals,  which  they  shot  with  bows.  Their 
arrows  were  the  same  as  those  of  other  Hottentot  Bushmen. 

When  they  were  first  seen  they  took  to  flight.  They  were 
evidently  perfectly  unacquainted  with  Europeans,  and  it  was 
only  after  considerable  persuasion  that  they  made  their  appear- 
ance. This  was  probably  a  remnant  of  a  similar  tribe  to  the  people 
called  strandloopers  by  the  early  Dutch.  They  were  certainly 
a  more  primitive  race  than  the  nomadic  pastoral  Hottentots 
which  followed  them. 

^  Sometimes  great  havoc  was  committed  among  the  Bushmen  and 
other  native  tribes  by  the  occasional  visitation  of  a  severe  epidemic, 
which  has  sometimes  swept  off  whole  tribes,  as  if  before  the  blast  of  a 
pestilence.  Chapman  informs  us  that  a  raging  sickness  of  this  kind  having 
decimated  some  of  the  Kalahari  tribes,  an  old  Bushman  named  Casse 
emphatically  passed  his  hand  before  his  mouth  and  blowing  against  it 
strove  thus  to  indicate  the  clean  sweep  the  extensive  mortality  had  made 
amongst  them.  "  There  are  no  people  left,"  he  said,"  only  stones."  He 
was  equally  as  figurative  when  speaking  of  the  unseasonable  weather, 
declaring  that  "  the  cold  wind  was  cutting  off  the  summer  from  the  winter." 


The  Bushmen  who  clung  to  the  mountain  fastnesses  were 
still  numerous  at  the  time  of  Barrow's  visit  in  1796-7.  He  says 
that  formerly  the  kloofs  of  the  Khamiesberg  abounded  with 
elands  and  hartebeests,  gemsboks,  quaggas,  and  zebras,  and  were 
not  a  little  formidable  on  account  of  the  number  of  beasts  of 
prey  that  resorted  thither  ;  but  at  the  period  when  he  wrote, 
although  the  lion  was  stiU  troublesome,  the  country  was  almost 
deserted  by  beasts  in  a  state  of  nature,  and  the  Dutch,  who  in  their 
turn  had  almost  entirely  superseded  the  original  Hottentot 
intruders,  were  too  much  in  dread  of  the  Bushmen  to  range  far 
over  the  country  in  quest  of  game. 

He  found  a  Bastaard  chief  (old  Cornelius  Kok)  living  near 
the  foot  of  the  mountain,  with  a  mixed  horde  of  Bastaards  and 
Namaquas.  In  his  younger  days  this  man  had  been  a  great 
lover  of  the  chase,  and  the  inside  of  his  matted  hut  stiU  showed 
trophies  of  his  prowess.  He  boasted  that,  in  one  excursion  he 
had  killed  seven  camelopards  and  three  white  rhinoceroses. 
But  although  the  intruding  races  had  almost  annihilated  the 
game,  the  Bushmen  were  still  in  considerable  numbers  along  the 
borders,  and  the  same  continued  state  of  unrest  and  alarm  pre- 
vailed. They  were  said  to  be  particularly  vindictive  to  any  of 
their  own  countr5anen  who  had  been  taken  prisoners  and  con- 
tinued to  live  with  the  Dutch  farmers.  Should  any  of  those 
unfortunates  again  fall  into  their  hands,  they  seldom  escaped 
being  put  to  the  most  excruciating  tortures. 

In  the  Kaabas  mountains,  not  far  from  Pella,  a  narrow  pass 
winds  through.  It  is,  says  Thompson,  a  remarkably  bold  and 
picturesque  defile,  cutting  its  way  apparently  through  the  bowels 
of  the  mountains,  which  rise  on  either  hand  in ;  abrupt  precipices 
at  least  a  thousand  feet  in  height,  giving  a  grand  and  solemn  effect 
to  the  scenery,  with  its  rocks  and  caverns  rising  round  in  dim 
perspective.  This  poort,  or  pass,  received  an  appellation  which 
signified  in  the  Namaqua  and  Bushman  languages  the  Howling 
of  the  Big  Men,  from  an  event  which  took  place  there  in  the  early 
days.  A  party  of  Boers  had  left  the  Colony  to  survey  the  banks 
of  the  'Gariep,  probably  in  hopes  of  discovering  in  these  remote 
regions  a  land  flowing  with  mUk  and  honey,  with  no  one  to  dis- 
pute their  occupation  of  it  but  the  feeble  and  famished  natives. 
Whether  they  committed  any  aggressions  on  the  route  upon  the 


Bushmen  is  not  now  known,  but  they  were  waylaid  in  this  defile 
on  their  return  by  the  crafty  savages,  and  many  of  them  slain  by 
showers  of  stones  and  poisoned  arrows  ;  and  from  the  dismal 
howhng  they  made  in  their  flight  the  pass  received  its  name. 

Many  other  simUar  traditions  were  connected  with  other 
portions  of  the  country,  which  have  in  like  manner  been  marked 
by  some  tragedy  in  the  determined  and  desperate  struggle  that 
was  made  by  these  aborigines  to  maintain  the  independence 
of  their  country,  and  they  are  evidence  of  the  feelings  which  were 
excited  in  the  breasts  of  the  tribes  of  the  desert  by  the  cruel  op- 
pressions and  arrogant  usurpations  of  the  white  men. 

chapter  IX 


The  Bushmen  of  the  Western  Karoo. 

Up  to  the  middle  of  last  century  the  Bushmen  of  the  Karoo  on 
the  borders  of  the  Dutch  settlements  were  living  on  good  terms 
with  the  colonists.  They  roamed  about  the  border  districts 
in  a  friendly  way  ;  petty  thefts  now  and  then  occurred,  but  "  Bush- 
man atrocities  "  were  unheard  of.  It  was  about  this  time  that 
some  Dutch  elephant  hunters  penetrated  into  the  long  kloof 
to  the  eastward,  and  began  to  make  a  permanent  lodgment  there. 
The  moxmtains  at  that  time  were  thickly  peopled  by  Bushman 
clans,  who  held  the  key  of  all  the  passes  leading  to  the  eastward. 
Doubtless  the  newcomers,  who  were  successful  huntsmen — 
as  the  country  hterally  swarmed  with  great  troops  of  elephants 
and  every  pool  and  river  teemed  with  hippopotami, — were 
welcomed  as  "  flesh-givers."  This  was  but  the  first  phase  of  the 
contact  of  the  two  races. 

The  case  however  was  altered  when,  either  to  escape  the  grip 
of  the  law  or  the  oppressive  restrictions  of  their  own  government, 
or  from  a  desire  to  live  a  free  and  untrammelled  life  in  the  wilder- 
ness with  an  unlimited  extent  of  land  around  them,  the  colonists 
began  to  cross  the  great  mountain  ranges  in  considerable  and 
ever  -  increasing  numbers,  carrying  their  numerous  flocks  and 
herds  with  them,  invading  the  Bokkeveld,  seizing  the  fountains^ 
making  permanent  settlements,  destroying  or  driving  away  the 
game,  the  Bushmen's  means  of  subsistence,  treating  the  inhabi- 
tants, the  "  zwarte  schepsels,"  with  menace  and  contumely,  and 
reducing  all  those  who  fell  into  their  grasp  to  a  condition  of 
abject  slavery.  Then  a  spirit  of  resistance  was  aroused  in  the 
breasts  of  the  Bushmen  of  the  Karoo,  and  this  feeling  of  hostility 
gradually  increased,  as  the  voortrekkers  pressed  on,  extending 
themselves  wherever  water  and  herbage   were   to  be   found,  to 

156  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

the  Roggeveld  in  one  direction,  and  to  the  Camdeboo  (or  Green 
Elevations)  and  De  Brujoi's  Hoogte,  including  all  the  sources 
of  the  Sunday's  river  and  the  abundant  springs  of  the  Sneeuw- 
bergen.  The  Bushmen  resented  this  unjustifiable  usurpation 
of  their  ancestral  hunting  grounds,  this  wanton  destruction  of  the 
game  which  they  looked  upon  as  their  property,  and  the  forced 
servitude  of  many  of  their  number  captured  when  others  were 
hunted  and  shot  down  like  wUd  beasts  of  the  field  ;  and  they  rose, 
from  one  end  of  the  border  line  to  the  other,  en  masse,  and  made 
a  desperate  effort  to  drive  back  the  intruders. 

The  details  of  the  actions  of  the  periodical  commandos  which 
followed  for  the  express  purpose  of  totally  subduing  and  extirpat- 
ing the  obnoxious  race  form  a  portion  of  the  history  of  the 
Dutch  settlement ;  we  shall  therefore  defer  their  consideration 
until  we  arrive  at  that  section  of  our  subject.  Suffice  it  here  to 
say  the  Bushmen  were  pursued  and  destroyed  with  a  relentless 
and  almost  savage  ferocity,  clan  after  clan  was  annihilated,  the 
men  were  shot  down  without  mercy,  and  the  surviving  women  and 
children  were  dragged  into  a  state  worse  than  slavery.  Sometimes 
they  were  destroyed  in  their  caves,  and  no  survivors  were  left ; 
all,  men,  women,  and  children,  perished  in  a  heap  ;  and  men, 
nominally  Christians,  boasted,  as  if  they  had  been  engaged  in 
some  meritorious  act,  of  the  active  part  they  had  taken  in  these 
scenes  of  slaughter. 

Before  any  of  the  history  of  the  Bushmen  of  the  Western 
Karoo  was  recorded,  their  clans  had  been  broken  up  and  scattered, 
and  the  miserable  remnant,  with  scarcely  the  means  of  sub- 
sistence, was  reduced  to  the  most  deplorable  condition  of  want 
and  wretchedness. 

Cruelly  as  they  had  been  treated  by  the  vast  majority  of 
Europeans  who  invaded  their  country,  some  two  or  three  farmers 
living  upon  this  border  stand  out  as  a  bright  example  to  the 
remainder  of  their  countrymen,  for  the  zealous  and  humane 
endeavours  they  made  to  ameliorate  the  wretchedness  of  the  un- 
happy aborigines.  They  obtained  by  pubHc  subscription  a 
considerable  number  of  sheep  and  homed  cattle  for  their  use, 
hoping  thus  to  reclaim  them  from  their  wandering  life  ;  and  by 
their  means,  with  the  co-operation  of  one  of  the  captains, 
several  hordes  of  these  outcasts  were  brought  together,  while  an 


equally   zealous   missionary,   named   Kicherer,   volunteered   to 
attempt  to  establish  a  mission  among  them. 

Among  this  small  knot  of  right-minded  philanthropists,  the 
name  of  Floris  Fischer  is  undoubtedly  pre-eminent.  He  it  was 
who  first  attempted  to  rouse  a  better  feeling  in  the  Bushmen, 
With  other  farmers  he  made  a  treaty  between  the  Bushmen 
and  themselves,  who  had  suffered  terribly  in  their  flocks  and  herds 
from  depredations.  The  Bushmen  were  struck  with  the  solemn 
appeal  to  heaven  made  by  Fischer  to  witness  the  transaction. 
After  satisfying  some  of  their  enquiries,  he,  at  their  request, 
took  some  of  the  principal  of  them  to  Cape  Town.  The  mis- 
sionary, who  had  newly  arrived,  returned  with  them,  and  the 
farmers  loaded  them  with  things  necessary  to  commence  the 
station,  whUe  some  accompanied  them  to  the  spot  first  selected, 
and  Zak  river  became  a  finger-post.  Many  farmers  exerted 
themselves  with  commendable  liberality  in  favour  of  the  object 
in  view. 

Unhappily  the  company  and  countenance  of  the  Bushmen 
could  not  be  commanded  without  a  daily  portion  of  victuals  and 
tobacco,  of  which  Mr.  Kicherer  had  received  an  ample  supply 
from  the  farmers.  The  country  in  which  the  mission  was  fixed 
was  sterile  in  the  extreme,  and  rain  so  seldom  fell  that  they  were 
obliged  to  depend  upon  foreign  supplies.  It  was  doubtless  to 
these  insurmountable  and  adverse  circumstances  that  the  failure 
of  the  mission  was  chiefly  owing.  At  Mr.  Kicherer's  departure 
the  station  was  left  in  charge  of  Mr.  and  Mrs.  A.  Vos  and  a  Mr. 
Botha,  a  farmer,  who  had  sold  all  he  had  to  aid  the  mission. 
These  men,  not  having  equal  resources  with  its  founders,  though 
distinguished  for  exemplary  patience,  after  suffering  great  priva- 
tions and  hardships  from  drought  and  the  plundering  Bushmen, 
were  compelled  in  1806  to  abandon  the  station. 

The  Bushmen,  as  a  people,  could  never  appreciate  the  effort 
that  had  been  made  for  their  welfare,  their  wild  life  and  its  un- 
trammelled freedom  had  too  many  fascinations  for  them,  and  they 
continued  to  harass  and  impoverish  those  of  their  countrjmien 
attached  to  it.  A  few  only  followed  their  teacher  to  Graaff 

In  the  above  account,  which  is  quoted  from  Mr.  Moffat,  the 
cause  of  failure  in  this  laudable  attempt  is  attributed  principally 

158  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

to  the  Bushmen  themselves  ;  but  there  were  certainly  other 
causes  which  from  its  very  commencement  entailed  an  improb- 
ability of  success.  The  character  of  the  tract  of  country  set 
apart  for  their  use  was  sufficient  of  itself  to  mar  the  entire  project. 
It  was  the  most  arid  and  sterile  of  all  the  countless  acres  of  the 
land  of  their  forefathers.  Every  fountain  and  every  stream 
had  been  appropriated  by  the  insatiable  greed  of  the  intruders, 
and  a  piece  of  ground  upon  which  none  of  them  could  live  them- 
selves was  allotted  for  the  regeneration  of  the  owners  of  the  soil. 
How  could  they  leam  the  advantages  of  a  more  settled  hfe  on  a 
spot  where  nothing  could  be  cultivated,  and  scarcely  a  sufficient 
supply  of  their  own  primitive  roots  and  tubers  could  be  obtained  ? 
There  could  be  no  luxuriant  crops,  no  loaded  fruit-trees  flourishing 
before  their  eyes,  to  serve  as  an  ocular  demonstration  of  the 
benefits  to  be  derived  from  well-directed  industry.  Even  the 
cattle  that  were  given  to  them  could  scarcely  obtain  sufficient 
nourishment  in  a  country  where  there  were  more  stones  and  sand 
to  be  seen  than  blades  of  parched  and  withered  grass. 

Placing  these  unfortunate  creatures  in  such  a  position  was 
enough  to  confirm  them  in  the  idea  that  their  former  mode  of  life 
was  infinitely  superior  to  that  to  which  they  were  to  be  condemned 
by  their  new  friends.  This  doubtless  was  the  rock  upon  which 
the  good  ship  was  wrecked.  We  shall  find  also  from  other  evidence 
that  at  the  time  this  effort  was  made  the  entire  border  was  in  the 
utmost  anarchy  and  confusion.  The  north-western  districts 
were  being  pillaged  and  kept  in  a  state  of  terror  by  the  daring 
and  unchecked  exploits  of  the  notorious  freebooter  Africander 
and  other  lawless  bands  of  savage  banditti  that  followed  in  his 
wake  and  professed  to  act  imder  his  inspiration.  A  spirit  of 
insubordination  still  smouldered  in  the  breasts  of  the  more  tur- 
bulent of  the  white  population,  and  violence  and  rapine  were 
ever5where  indulged  in  in  open  day.  Thus  it  was  that  in  every 
part  of  the  country  where  the  Bushmen  made  an  attempt  to 
settle,  and  we  shall  discover  as  we  proceed  that  this  was  not  an 
isolated  case,  it  was  not  so  much  from  the  marauding  disposition 
of  their  own  countrymen  that  they  were  impoverished  as  from 
the  utter  lawlessness  of  the  intruders. 

They  were  cajoled  out  of,  or  driven  by  force  from,  every  useful 
fountain  by  the  whites  ;  they  were  dispossessed  upon  paltry  and 

THE   BUSHMEN    OF   THE   WESTERN    KAROO       159 

unsubstantial  excuses  of  the  only  flourishing  mission  stations 
which  had  been  established  among  them  ;  and  the  fountains 
and  lands  they  were  learning  to  cultivate  were  most  iniqui- 
tously  granted  to  the  interested  complainants,  a  too  palpable 
proof  of  the  reasons  for  the  charges  that  were  made  against  these 
members  of  a  cruelly  treated  race.  They  were  attacked  and 
plundered  by  marauding  Griquas  and  Koranas  and  some  of  the 
other  stronger  robber  pastoral  tribes,  while  the  remnant  that 
escaped  were  driven  once  more  to  seek  a  precarious  mode  of  sub- 
sistence, under  far  more  disadvantageous  circumstances  than 
their  forefathers,  the  greater  part  of  the  game  having  been 

Under  such  circumstances,  what  could  we  expect  as  the 
natural  consequence  ?  Can  we  wonder  that  such  well-meaning 
and  meritorious  attempts  became  failures,  or  that  they  soon  be- 
came too  late  ?  "  Past  sufferings,  and  past  offences  on  both 
sides,"  writes  Moffat,  "  had  produced  a  feeling  of  hatred  so 
universal  that  it  was  of  no  avail  to  pacify  one  party,"  while  in 
other  directions,  upon  the  smallest  provocation,  their  co-patriots 
were  being  shot  down  like  wild  beasts  without  pity,  and  men, 
women,  and  children  frequently,  as  we  have  before  mentioned, 
indiscriminately  slaughtered,  thus  arousing  in  the  breasts  of 
thousands  a  thirst  for  revenge  and  plunder.  It  was  doubtless 
this  state  of  affairs  which  greatly  militated  against  the  success 
of  the  first  missionaries  in  their  attempts  to  influence  them.  The 
few  they  were  able  to  gather  round  them  were  ever  in  a  state  of 
unrest  and  uncertainty,  while  their  more  untamed  countrymen 
were  being  harried  out  of  the  surrounding  country,  writhing 
under  the  wrongs  inflicted  upon  them,  or  mercilessly  butchered 
whenever  they  fell  into  the  hands  of  their  pursuers. 

From  Borcherds  we  learn  that  up  to  the  time  of  his  visit  some 
of  the  Roggeveld  Bushmen  strenuously  defended  themselves  in 
several  of  the  strongholds  of  the  country  ;  thus  a  defile  between 
two  steep  hflls  beyond  the  Riet  river  formed  one  of  their 
great  retreats,  to  which  they  retired  after  their  forays,  and  especi- 
ally to  that  portion  called  the  Bonteberg,  which  was  too  rocky 
and  steep  to  be  ascended  with  horses. 

Mr.  Kicherer  gives  the  following  description  of  the  wretched 
condition    in  which  he   found  these  Bushmen   of  the   Karoo. 


Their  manner  of  living,  he  says,  was  extremely  wretched  and 
disgusting.  They  delighted  to  besmear  their  bodies  with  the 
fat  of  animals,  mingled  with  ochre,  and  sometimes  with  grime 
(probably  the  black  sooty  paint  with  which  they  frequently 
painted  their  bodies).  They  were  utter  strangers  to  cleanliness, 
as  they  never  washed  their  bodies,  but  suffered  the  dirt  to  accu- 
mulate. Their  huts  were  formed  by  digging  holes  in  the  earth 
about  three  feet  deep,  and  then  making  a  roof  of  reeds,  which 
was,  however,  insufficient  to  keep  off  the  rains.  Here  they  lay 
close  together.  They  were  extremely  lazy,  so  that  nothing 
would  rouse  them  to  action  but  excessive  hunger. 

We  have  abundance  of  evidence,  however,  to  show  that  this 
was  not  their  natural  character  in  their  undisturbed  state.  The 
torpor  of  despair  had  seized  them.  They  would  continue,  he 
adds,  several  days  together  without  food,^  rather  than  be  at  the 
pains  of  procuring  it.  When  compelled  to  sally  forth  for  prey 
Ihey  were  dexterous  in  destroying  the  various  beasts  which 
abounded,  and  they  could  run  almost  as  well  as  a  horse.  They 
were  total  strangers  to  domestic  happiness.  The  men  had 
several  wives,  but  conjugal  affection  was  little  known. 

Thompson,  who  visited  these  tribes  nearly  twenty  years 
later,  says  that  after  the  larger  game  was  driven  out  of  the 
country  by  the  guns  of  the  Boers  and  the  Griquas,  the  Bushmen 
were  reduced  to  the  most  wretched  shifts  to  obtain  a  precarious 
subsistence,  living  chiefly  on  wild  roots,  locusts,  and  the  larvae 
of  insects.  Even  in  1823  the  wandering  hordes  of  this  people 
were  scattered  over  a  territory  of  very  wide  extent,  but  of  so 
barren  and  arid  a  character  that  by  far  the  greater  portion  of  it 
was  not  permanently  habitable  by  any  class  of  human  beings. 
Even  as  it  was,  colonists  were  perpetually  pressing  in  upon  their 
-territory  wherever  a  fountain  or  even  a  temporary  pool  of  water 
was  to  be  found.  Had  this  territory  been  fertile,  there  can  be 
little  question  but  that  it  would  have  been  years  before  entirely 
occupied  by  the  Christians.  They  were  continually  soliciting 
^rom  the  government  fresh  grants  beyond  the  nominal  boundary, 
and  were,  in  the  year  above  mentioned,  very  urgent  to  obtain 
possession   of   a   tract   l5nng   between  the  Zak  and  Hartebeest 

1  This  in  all  probability  must  have  been  after  rains,  to  which,  as  we 
have  seen,  they  had  a  great  aversion. 

THE    BUSHMEN    OF   THE    WESTERN    KAROO      i6i 

rivers.  In  defence  of  these  aggressions,  they  maintained  that 
the  Bushmen  were  a  nation  of  robbers,  who,  as  they  neither 
cultivated  the  soil  nor  pastured  cattle,  were  incapable  of  occupjong 
the  country  advantageously  ;  that  they  would  live  much  more 
comfortably  by  becoming  the  herdsmen  and  household  servants 
of  the  Christians  than  they  did  on  their  own  precarious  resources, 
and  finally  that  they  were  incapable  of  being  civilized  by  any  other 

Field  Commandant  Gert  van  der  Walt  communicated  his 
experiences  with  regard  to  these  Karoo  Bushmen  to  Mr.  Melville, 
the  Government  Agent  among  the  Griquas,  who  thus  wrote  in 
1825  : — Van  der  Walt  stated  that  both  he  and  his  father  had 
been  for  many  years  at  war  with  them.  From  the  time  he  could 
use  a  gun  he  went  upon  commandos,  but  he  owned  that  he  could 
now  see  that  no  good  was  ever  done  by  this  course  of  vindictive 
retaliation.  They  still  continued  their  depredations,  and  retained 
an  inveterate  spirit  of  revenge.  He  was  in  constant  danger  of 
losing  his  cattle  and  of  being  murdered  by  them.  Having  seen 
the  effects  of  war  and  cruelty,  he  had  for  a  few  years  past  tried 
what  might  be  done  by  cultivating  peace  with  them,  and  ex- 
perience had  convinced  him  that  his  present  plan  was  most  con- 
ducive to  his  interest.  He  said  the  Landdrost  Stockenstrom 
was  also  friendly  to  pacific  measures,  and  encouraged  the  plan 
he  had  adopted.  This  was  to  keep  a  flock  of  goats  to  supply 
the  Bushmen  with  food  in  seasons  of  great  want,  and  occasionally 
to  give  them  other  little  presents,  by  which  means  he  not  only 
kept  on  good  terms  with  them,  but  they  became  very  service- 
able in  taking  care  of  his  flocks  in  dry  seasons. 

He  said  that  on  occasions  when  there  was  no  pasturage  on  his 
own  farm,  he  was  accustomed  to  give  his  cattle  entirely  into  the 
care  of  a  chief  of  a  tribe  who  lived  near  him,  and  after  a  certain 
period  they  never  failed  to  be  brought  back  again  in  so  improved 
a  condition  that  he  scarcely  knew  them  to  be  his  own. 

Mr.  Melville  gives  another  example  of  faithfulness  in  the 
character  of  these  Bushmen.  A  farmer  who  had  been  residing 
at  a  place  called  Dassen  Poort  (the  pass  of  the  rock  rabbit  or 
coney)  and  had  built  a  hut  and  raised  some  wheat,  but  had 
been  ordered  away  from  it  by  the  Landdrost  on  account  of  its 
being  beyond  the  boundaries  of  the  colony,  left  the  wheat  he  had 


i62  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

sown,  when  he  removed  from  the  place,  in  charge  of  two  Bush- 
men ;  and  when  Mr.  Melville  passed  the  spot  these  two  men  were 
still  at  the  post  of  duty,  carefully  watching  and  guarding  the 
crop  from  harm  :  another  proof  that  had  the  conquering  race 
been  desirous  of  doing  so,  it  would  not  have  been  so  difficult 
to  have  cultivated  peace  with  these  oppressed  people,  if  measures  of 
real  kindness  had  been  in  the  first  instance  adopted  towards  them. 

Further  evidence  upon  this  point  was  gained  by  Thompson 
from  an  old  man  of  about  sixty.  This  man  stated  that  he  had  lived 
aU  his  life  upon  the  Bushman  frontier.  He  could  recollect  the 
time  when  few  or  no  murders  were  committed  by  Bushmen, 
especially  upon  the  Christians.  The  era  of  bitter  and  bloody 
hostility  between  them  commenced,  he  said,  about  fifty  years 
before,  or  about  1770-73,  in  the  following  manner.  The  burgher 
Coetzee  van  Reenen  had  an  overseer  who  kept  his  flocks  near 
the  Zak  river,  this  man  was  of  a  brutal  and  insolent  disposition 
and  a  great  tyrant  over  the  Bushmen  ;  he  had  shot  some  of  them 
at  times  out  of  mere  wantonness.  The  Bushmen  submissively 
endured  the  oppression  of  this  petty  tyrant  for  a  long  period, 
but  at  length  their  patience  was  worn  out,  and  one  day  when  he 
was  cruelly  maltreating  one  of  their  nation  another  struck  him 
through  with  his  assagai.  This  act  was  represented  in  the 
Colony  as  a  horrible  murder. 

A  strong  commando  was  sent  into  the  Bushman  country) 
and  hundreds  of  innocent  people  were  massacred  to  avenge  the 
death  of  this  unhappy  wretch.  Such  treatment  roused  the 
animosity  of  the  Bushmen  to  the  highest  pitch,  and  eradicated 
all  remains  of  respect  which  they  stiU  retained  for  the  Christians. 
The  commando  had  scarcely  left  the  coimtry  when  the  whole 
race  of  Bushmen  along  the  frontier  simultaneously  commenced 
a  system  of  predatory  and  murderous  incursions  against  the 
colonists,  from  the  Khamiesberg  to  the  Stormberg.  These  depre- 
dations were  retaliated  by  fresh  commandos,  who  slew  the  old 
without  pity  and  carried  off  the  young  into  bondage.  The  acts 
of  the  commandos  were  again  avenged  by  new  robberies  and 
murders,  and  mutual  injuries  were  accumulated  and  mutual 
rancour  kept  up  to  the  present  day. 

The  evidence  which  Thompson  obtained  from  Field  Command- 
ant Nejj  will  form  a  fitting  conclusion  to  our  remarks  upon  these 

THE    BUSHMEN    OF   THE    WESTERN    KAROO      163 

Bushmen  of  the  Karoo.  He  informed  our  traveller  that  in  the 
last  thirty  years  (that  is,  from  1793  to  1823)  he  had  been  upon 
thirty-two  commandos  against  Bushmen,  in  which  great  numbers 
had  been  shot,  and  their  children  carried  into  the  Colony.  On 
one  of  these  expeditions  no  less  than  two  hundred  Bushmen  were 
massacred^  In  justification  of  this  barbarous  system,  he 
narrated  many  shocking  stories  of  atrocities  committed  by 
Bushmen  upon  colonists,  which  together  with  the  continual 
depredations  upon  their  property  had  often  called  down  upon 
them  the  full  weight  of  vengeance.  Such  was  to  1823,  to  a  great 
extent,  the  horrible  warfare  existing  between  the  Christians 
and  the  natives  of  the  northern  frontier,  and  by  which  the  process 
of  extermination  was  still  proceeding  against  the  latter,  as  in  the 
days  of  Barrow. 

This  Field-Commandant  was  in  many  other  respects,  so 
Thompson  assures  us,  a  meritorious,  benevolent,  and  clear-sighted 
man  ;  and  it  was  a  strange  and  melancholy  trait  of  human  nature 
to  see  one  with  so  many  excellent  points  in  his  character  so 
seemingly  unconscious  that  any  part  of  his  proceedings,  or  those 
of  his  coimtrjTmen,  in  their  wars  with  the  Bushmen  could  awaken 
in  the  breast  of  a  right-minded  man  a  feeling  of  horror  and  abhor- 
rence. The  massacre  of  many  hundreds  of  these  miserable 
creatures,  and  the  carrying  away  of  their  children  into  servitude, 
seemed  to  be  considered  by  him  and  his  companions  as  perfectly 
lawful,  just,  and  necessary,  and  as  meritorious  service  done  to  the 
public,  of  which  they  had  no  more  cause  to  be  ashamed  than  a 
brave  soldier  of  having  distinguished  himself  against  the  enemies 
of  his  country  ;  while,  on  the  other  hand,  he  spoke  with  detesta- 
tion of  the  callousness  of  the  Bushmen  in  the  commission  of 
robbery  and  murder  upon  the  Christians,  not  seeming  to  be  aware 
that  the  treatment  these  persecuted  tribes  had  received  from  the 
Christians  might  in  their  apprehension  justify  every  excess  of 
malice  and  revenge  they  were  able  to  perpetrate^ 

The  hereditary  sentiments  of  animosity  and  the  deep-rooted 
contemptuous  prejudices  sear  the  better  feelings,  in  such  cases, 
of  those  who  come  under  their  influence  ;  and  thus  it  has  been 
that  the  conduct  of  the  farmers  towards  the  iU-fated  race  was 
rather  of  a  description  to  render  them  more  barbarous  and 
desperate  than  to  conciliate  or  civilize  them. 

i64  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Camdeboo  and  Sneeuwberg. 

The  tribes  of  these  two  locahties  belong  to  the  same  group, 
the  former  being  the  name  of  the  country  occupied  by  the  pro- 
jecting buttresses  which  extend  far  from  the  foot,  and  support 
the  Snowy  mountains,  and  which  on  that  account  are  mostly 
covered  with  verdure.  They  were  styled  'Cam'deboo,  or  the 
Green  Elevations,  by  the  old  inhabitants  ;  while  the  Sneeuw- 
bergen  form  the  higher  and  central  ridges,  culminating  in  the 
crest  of  the  Compassberg,  the  highest  point  in  Southern  Africa, 
with  the  exception  of  the  ridge  of  the  Drakensberg.  In  treating 
of  the  one,  we  shall  therefore  be  describing  the  other. 

Sparrman,  who  is  the  oldest  writer  who  notices  the  Bushmen  of 
this  part  of  the  country,  and  who  visited  it  after  they  had  been  har- 
ried by  commandos,  had  evidently  imbibed  a  little  of  the  colonial 
prejudice  against  them.  He  states  that  the  Sneeuwbergen, 
which  lie  to  the  north  of  the  Camdeboo,  were  so  called  from  the 
snow  with  which  in  winter  time  the  highest  of  them  were  covered, 
and  which  even  remained  on  them  during  part  of  the  summer. 
The  Lower  Sneeuwbergen  were  inhabited  the  year  throughout,  but 
on  the  higher  range  of  hills  the  winters  were  severe  enough. 
This  circumstance  compelled  the  colonists  who  settled  there 
to  remove  during  the  winter  into  the  plains  below  Camde- 

The  inhabitants,  who  had  only  forced  themselves  into,  and 
located  themselves  in  that  portion  of  the  Bushman  territory 
a  short  time  before  Sparrman's  arrival,  in  the  more  distant  parts 
of  this  range  were  obliged  to  entirely  relinquish  their  dwellings 
and  habitations,  on  account  of  the  savage  plundering  race  of 
Bushmen,  who  from  their  hiding  places,  shooting  forth  their 
poisoned  arrows  at  the  shepherd,  killed  him,  and  afterwards  drove 
away  the  whole  of  his  flock,  which  perhaps  consisted  of  several 
hundred  sheep,  and  formed  the  chief,  if  not  the  whole,  of  the 
farmer's  property.  What  they  could  not  drive  away  with  them 
they  killed  and  wounded  as  much  as  the  time  allowed  them  while 
they  were  making  their  retreat. 

It  was  in  vain  to  pursue  them,  they  being  so  very  swift  of  foot, 
and  taking  refuge  in  the  steep  mountains,  which  they  were  able 
to  run  up  almost  as  nimbly  as  baboons  or  monkeys.  From  these 
they  rolled  down  great  stones  on  any  one  who  was  imprudent 


enough  to  follow  them.  The  approach  of  night  gave  them  time 
to  withdraw  themselves  entirely  from  those  parts,  by  ways  and 
places  with  which  none  but  themselves  were  acquainted.  They 
then  collected  together  again  in  bodies  numbering  some  hundreds, 
from  their  hiding  places  and  clefts  in  the  mountains,  in  order  to 
commit  fresh  depredations  and  robberies. 

Neither  Sparrman  nor  anyone  else  of  the  time  thought  for  a 
moment  of  the  grievous  wrong  which  had  been  done  by  the  land- 
robbers  who  had  seized  upon  all  their  hunting  grounds,  sur- 
rounding the  mountains  of  their  ancestors,  the  ancient  men  who 
had  adorned  their  numerous  cave  dwellings  with  innumerable 
paintings  showing  the  history  and  hunting  achievements  of  their 
race  for  unknown  generations.  The  hundreds  of  whom  he  speaks 
had  been  most  unceremoniously  dispossessed  of  their  country,  and 
all  their  mountain  streams  had  been  appropriated  to  gratify 
the  territorial  greed  of  a  few  score  men,  who  called  themselves 
civilized  because  they  had  guns  in  their  hands. 

One  of  these  colonists,  who  had  been  obliged  to  flee  from  the 
defenders  of  the  mountains,  informed  Sparrman  that  the  Bushmen 
grew  bolder  every  day,  and  seemed  to  increase  in  numbers  since 
people  had  with  greater  earnestness  set  about  extirpating  them. 
'  This  is  but  another  proof  of  the  determination  of  their  resistance  ; 
they  rallied  at  the  point  of  greatest  danger,  as  it  was  doubtless 
this  cause  which  occasioned  them  to  collect  in  large  bodies,  in 
order  to  be  the  better  able  to  withstand  the  encroachments  of 
the  colonists,  who  had  already  taken  away  their  best  dwelling 
and  hunting  places.  An  instance  was  related  in  which  these 
Sneeuwberg  Bushmen  had  besieged  a  peasant  with  his  wife  and 
children  in  their  cottage,  till  at  length  he  drove  them  off  by 
repeatedly  firing  ^mong  them. 

Not  long  before  this,  however,  they  had  suffered  a  consider- 
able defeat  in  the  following  manner.  Several  farmers,  who  per- 
ceived that  they  were  not  able  to  get  at  the  Bushmen  by  the 
usual  methods,  shot  a  sea-cow,  and  took  only  the  prime  part  of 
it  for  themselves,  leaving  the  rest  by  way  of  bait ;  they  them- 
selves in  the  meantime  lying  in  ambush.  The  Bushmen  with 
their  wives  and  children  now  came  down  from  their  hiding-places, 
with  the  intention  of  feasting  sumptuously  on  the  sea-cow  that  had 
been  shot ;  but  the  farmers,  who  came  back  again  very  unex- 

i66  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

pectedly,  turned  the  feast  into  a  scene  of  blood  and  slaughter.^ 
Pregnant  women  and  children  in  their  tenderest  years  were  not 
at  this  time,  neither  indeed  were  they  ever,  exempt  from  the 
effects  of  the  hatred  and  spirit  of  vengeance  constantly  harboured 
by  the  colonists  with  respect  to  the  Bushman  nation,  excepting 
such  indeed  as  were  marked  out  to  be  carried  away  into  bondage. 

Did  a  colonist  at  any  time  get  sight  of  a  Bushman,  he  took 
iire  immediately,  and  spirited  up  his  horse  and  dogs  in  order  to 
hunt  him  with  more  ardour  and  fury  than  he  would  a  wolf  or 
any  other  wild  beast.  On  an  open  plain  a  few  colonists  on  horse- 
back were  always  sure  to  get  the  better  of  the  greatest  number  of 
Bushmen  that  could  be  brought  together,  as  the  former  always 
kept  at  a  distance  of  a  hundred  or  a  hundred  and  fifty  paces, 
as  they  might  find  it  convenient,  and  charging  their  heavy  fire- 
arms with  a  very  large  kind  of  shot,  jumped  off  their  horses  and 
took  rest  in  their  usual  manner  on  their  ramrods,  in  order  that 
they  might  shoot  with  greater  certainty,  so  that  the  balls  dis- 
charged by  them  would  sometimes,  as  Sparrman  was  assured^ 
go  through  the  bodies  of  six,  seven  or  eight  of  the  enemy  at  a  time, 
especially  as  these  latter  knew  no  better  than  to  keep  close  to- 
gether in  a  body.  It  was  true,  on  the  other  hand,  the  Bushmen 
could  shoot  their  arrows  to  the  distance  of  two  hundred  paces,  but 
with  a  very  uncertain  aim,  as  the  arrow  must  first  necessarily  have 
made  a  curve  in  the  air,  and  should  it  even  at  that  distance  have 
chanced  to  hit  any  of  the  farmers,  it  would  not  have  been  able 
to  go  through  his  hat  or  his  ordinary  linen  or  coarse  woollen  coat. 

In  the  district  of  the  Sneeuwberg  the  landdrost  appointed  one 
of  the  farmers,  with  the  title  of  Field-Corporal,  to  command  in 
these  wars,  and,  as  occasion  might  require,  to  order  out  the 
country  people  in  separate  parties  for  the  purpose  of  defending 
the  country  against  its  original  inhabitants.  The  government, 
indeed,  had  no  other  part  in  the  cruelties  exercised  by  its  subjects 
than  that  of  taking  no  cognizance  of  them  ;  but  in  this  point 
it  was  certainly  too  remiss,  in  leaving  a  whole  nation  to  the  mercy 
of  every  peasant,  or  in  fact  every  one  that  chose  to  invade 
their  land,  as  of  such  people  one  might  naturally  expect  that 

^  We  shall  find  as  we  proceed  that  this  treacherous  mode  of  attack 
was  carried  out  on  a  more  extensive  scale  by  one  of  the  large  commandos 
under  the  guidance  of  a  Field-Commandant. 


interested  views  and  an  unbridled  spirit  of  revenge  would  prevail 
over  the  dictates  of  prudence  and  humanity.  Sparrman  declares 
that  he  was  far  from  accusing  all  the  colonists  of  having  a  hand 
in  these  and  other  cruelties,  which  were  too  frequently  committed 
in  this  quarter  of  the  globe.  While  some  plumed  themselves  upon 
them,  there  were  many  who,  on  the  contrary,  held  them  in  abom- 
ination and  feared  lest  the  vengeance  of  heaven  should,  for  all 
these  crimes,  fall  upon  the  land  and  their  posterity. 

In  1782J  Le  VaiUant  travelled  through  this  portion  of  the 
country.  In  his  time  the  Bushmen,  notwithstanding  all  the 
attacks  which  had  been  made  upon  them,  still  resolutelymaintained 
themselves  in  the  more  inaccessible  parts  of  the  range.  On 
approaching  it,  a  kraal  of  Hottentots  was  found  near  the  foot  of 
the  mountain,  who  had  migrated  from  some  of  the  western  dis- 
tricts. On  approaching  it,  the  children  no  sooner  saw  the  new- 
comers than  they  ran  to  hide  themselves,  screaming  horribly. 
It  contained  about  one  hundred  and  thirty  men,  and  they  pos- 
sessed about  one  hundred  head  of  cattle  and  treble  that  number 
of  sheep.  They  were  busily  engaged  in  drying  locusts  on  mats, 
having  previously  pulled  off  the  wings  and  legs. 

The  colonial  method  of  attempting  to  conciliate  the  unfortunate 
Bushmen  is  weU  illustrated  by  an  incident  in  which  Le  Vaillant, 
a  professed  philanthropist,  was  personally  engaged.  One  of  the 
keepers  of  his  stock,  he  informs  us,  came  and  reported  to  him  that 
several  Bushmen  had  descended  from  the  mountains  and  drew 
near  to  them,  but  had  been  kept  in  awe  by  a  few  discharges  of 
their  muskets.  Immediately  he  and  his  chief  attendant  got  on 
horseback,  and  accompanied  by  four  good  marksmen,  went  in 
quest  of  such  dangerous  plunderers,  and  soon  discovered  thirteen 
of  them.  The  Bushmen  seeing  the  pursuing  party  advancing 
resolutely,  and  hearing  their  bullets  whistle  through  the  air, 
presently  took  to  flight,  and  though  the  traveller  and  his  men 
followed  at  full  speed,  they  could  not  get  near  enough  to  hit 
them.  They  presently  regained  and  hid  themselves  in  the 
mountains.  Le  Vaillant  confesses  that  he  could  not  help  admir- 
ing the  address  with  which  they  climbed  like  monkeys  the  most 
craggy  and  steep  parts  of  the  rock,  where  he  did  not  pretend  to 
follow,  as  it  would  have  been  imprudent  to  attack  them  in  their 
inaccessible  retreats.    As  it  was,  it  was  certainly  one  of  the  most 

i68  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

unprovoked  attacks  on  his  part,  a  mere  traveller  through  the 
country,  but  from  the  way  he  speaks  of  it,  he  evidently  considered 
it  a  very  dashing  and  meritorious  action. 

""Le  Vaillantj  states  that  he  considered  the  Bushmen  were  a 
different  nation  from  the  Hottentots.  In  some  cantons  they  were 
called  Chinese  Hottentots,  because  their  complexions  resembled 
the  Chinese  seen  at  the  Cape,  and  like  them  too  they  were  of 
middling  stature.  He  imagined  that  they  were  a  peculiar  race 
of  Hottentots,  distinguished  by  the  savages  of  the  desert,  who  had 
no  communication  with  the  Dutch  settlements,  by  the  name 
Houswaana.  He  further  states  that  this  branch  of  the  Bushman 
family  formerly  inhabited  the  Camdeboo,  the  Bokkeveld,  and  the 
Roggeveld  ;  but  the  usurpation  of  the  whites,  to  whom,  like  the 
other  savages,  they  had  fallen  victims,  obliged  them  to  seek 
refuge  at  a  distance  from  their  country,  inhabiting  in  his  time 
the  vast  space  that  lies  between  Kaffraria  and  the  country  of  the 

Of  all  the  nations,  he  adds,  who  have  been  illtreated  by  the 
Europeans,  none  remembered  their  wrongs  with  so  much  bitter- 
ness. They  never  forgot  the  treachery  of  the  colonists  or  the 
infamous  return  made  for  the  many  signal  services  they  had 
rendered  them,  and  such,  he  says,  was  the  resentment  of  these 
people,  that  the  terrible  cry  of  vengeance  was  ever  in  their  mouthsj 

The  Bushmen  of  Achter  De  Bruyn's  Hoogte  and  the  Great  Eastern 


Of  these  tribes  and  the  country  which  they  inhabited,  Sparr- 
man  affords  the  following  interesting  particulars.  These  were 
the  tribes  which  were  called  by  the  voortrekkers  the  Cineese  or 
Snese  Hottentots,  i.e.  Chinese  Hottentots.  The  clans  which 
inhabited  De  Bruyn's  and  Achter  De  Bruyn's  Hoogte  Hved  peace- 
ably with  the  first  Christians  who  migrated  there.  The  latter 
were  then  few  in  number,  and  doubtless  found  it  expedient 
to  adopt,  as  aU  isolated  voortrekkers  ever  did,  a  conciliatory  pohcy 
towards  the  aborigines,  instead  of  the  arrogant  and  overbearing 
treatment  meted  out  as  soon  as  their  number  was  sufficiently 
augmented  to  enable  them  to  dictate  terms  to  those  who  in  the 
first  instance  had  welcomed  them  as  friends. 

THE    BUSHMEN    OF   THE    EASTERN    PLAINS       169 

In  the  days  of  their  weakness  the  Bushmen  were  accustomed 
to  perform  the  kindest  offices  for  them,  and  would  frequently  go 
unasked  in  search  of  a  stray  lamb  or  the  like  belonging  to  the 
Christians,  and  take  it  home  to  them  ;  but  at  length,  after  their 
countrjmien  had  been  harried  by  the  relentless  commandos,  and 
massacred  in  their  caves,  they  withdrew  themselves  and  lived 
concealed  in  the  holes  and  crevices  of  the  rocks  in  different  parts 
of  the  country,  like  the  other  Bushmen.  Yet,  being  fewer  in 
number,  they  were  not  altogether  so  bold  and  daring.  Their 
complexions  being  rather  of  a  yellowish  cast,  they  were  considered 
by  the  early  Dutch  settlers  as  a  different  nation,  and  were  con- 
sequently called  Chinese  or  Snese  Hottentots.  The  chief  abode 
of  these  fugitives  was  on  each  side  of  the  two  Fish  rivers.  Another 
and  more  considerable  part  of  this  yeUow-skinned  nation  was 
dispersed,  in  1776,  over  a  tract  of  country  eleven  days'  journey 
in  breadth,  and  situated  more  to  the  north  than  to  the  north-east 
of  the  Fish  rivers,  near  a  river  called  Tsomo,  where  some  of  them 
were  said  to  be  occupied  in  grazing  and  rearing  cattle. 

One  of  these  tribes  was  called  'Tambu'ki,  and  there  seems  no 
reason  to  doubt  that  frequent  intermarriages  took  place  between 
them  and  some  of  the  pioneer  clans  of  the  Abatembu.  From  this 
friendly  intercourse  the  two  races  would  assimilate  gradually  to 
each  other,  as  we  shall  discover  that  the  Ghonaquas  did  with  the 
foremost  struggling  clans  of  those  Kaffir  tribes  which  during 
their  migrations  continued  to  hug  the  coast,  just  as  a  similar 
partial  amalgapiation  took  place  between  them  and  the  pioneer 
clans  which  formed  the  van  in  the  southern  migration  of  the 
Bachoana  tribes.  In  all  these  cases,  isolated  fugitives  from  the 
various  advancing  branches  first  came  in  contact  with  the  ab- 
original Bushmen  occupying  the  country,  then  came  small 
detached  clans  far  in  advance  of  the  main  body,  too  few  in  number 
to  appear  in  any  other  guise  than  that  of  friends  and  suppliants. 

During  this  phase  of  the  intercourse  between  the  various 
races,  while  the  Bushmen  were  still  the  more  numerous  and  stron- 
ger party  and  the  masters  of  the  situation,  friendly  relations  were 
maintained,  and  a  half-caste  race  with  various  gradations  of 
intermixture  sprang  up  at  the  different  points  of  contact.  Some 
of  the  Bushmen,  obtaining  in  exchange  for  their  furs  or  beads 
a  few  cattle  from  their  new  friends,  thus  became  semi-pastoral, 

170  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

while  the  latter,  in  their  turn,  adopted,  or  rather  grafted  upon 
their  own  customs,  a  few  of  those  of  their  entertainers. 

The  old  Bushman  tribe  of  the  'Tambu'ki  was  a  striking  ex- 
ample of  this.^    They  appear  to  have  occupied  the  valley  of  the 
Tsomo,  and  were  described  'to  Sparrman  by  the  Chinese  Bushmen 
as  being  like  themselves  in  complexion,  but  more  powerful  and  war- 
like.    They  said  that  beyond  them  was  another  nation  still  more 
warhke  and  intrepid,  whom  they  called  the  Mambukis,  apparently 
the  Abatembu.      When  treating  of  this  latter  tribe,  we  shall 
learn  that  Lieutenant  Paterson  also  states  distinctly  that  these 
'Tambu'ki  were  originally  a  Bushman  tribe,  with  the  members  of 
which  the  advanced  Abatembu  contracted  marriage,  and  that 
upon  the  occasion  of  a   civil  war  breaking  out  between  two 
rival  branches  of  this  Kaf&r  tribe,  the  weaker  of  them  fled  and 
sought  a  refuge  among  the  'Tambu'ki  Bushmen,  with  whom  they 
amalgamated,  and  were  ever  after  known  by  the  sobriquet  of 
Tambuki.     The  Bushman  element  became  absorbed,  and  ulti- 
mately overwhelmed,  by  the  increasing  numbers  of  the  stronger 
race.     The  high  cheek-bones,  the  moderate  stature  of  many, 
the  remarkably  small  feet  and  hands  of  some  of  their  chiefs, 
being  a  striking  divergence  from  the  pure  Kaf&r  type,  and  finally 
the  adoption  by  this  division  of  the  Abatembu  of  the  Bushman 
custom  of  mutilating  the  hand  by  cutting  off  the  first  joint  of  one 
of  their  fingers,  are  all  unquestionable  proofs  of  this  friendly  amal- 
gamation of  the  advanced  tribes  of  the  two  races. 

With  regard  to  the  amicable  disposition  of  these  Bushmen, 

Sparrman  informs  us  that  stnall  parties  of  Christians  had  travelled 

all  through  this  country,  and  shot  elephants  there  unmolested, 

yet  they  thought  it  necessary  for  their  greater  security  to  shut 

themselves  up  at  night  in  their  waggons  as  in  a  castle.    The 

more  considerable  rivers  which  ran  through  the  country  of  the 

Chinese  Bushmen    were   the   following  :    t'Kamsi-fkay,  or  the 

White  Kei ;    t'Nu-t'kay,  the   Black  Kei,  and   the  Little  'Zomo 

and  Great   'Zomo  or  the  Tsomo.     Beyond  the   last,  in     1776, 

another  country  belonging  to  a  different  nation  commenced. 

^  This  fact  is  established  by  the  evidence  obtained  from  native  and 
other  sources  during  his  travels  among  their  countrymen  in  the  north, 
and  from  the  corroborative  information  collected  when  among  some  of 
the  Amaxosa  Kafifirs  in  the  south,  by  Lieutenant  Paterson.  Witnesses 
so  far  removed  and  isolated  from  one  another  must  needs  be  independent. 

THE    BUSHMEN    OF   THE    BAMBOESBERG        171 

Sparrman  states  that  although  up  to  his  time  no  attempt  had 
been  made  to  improve  the  condition  of  the  Bushmen  and  make 
them  better  men  and  more  useful  to  the  colonists,  still,  judging 
from  the  disposition  of  those  who  had  been  hired  in  the  colonists' 
service  or  made  slaves  of,  it  did  not  seem  impossible  to  be  effected, 
although  he  saw  that  the  sentiments  commonly  entertained  to 
their  disadvantage,  as  well  as  the  cruelties  which  had  hitherto 
been  practised  upon  them,  could  not  but  lay  many  impediments 
in  the  way  of  an  attempt  of  this  nature. 

These  Chinese  Bushmen  made  delineations  upon  the  smooth 
surface  of  the  rocks,  though  in  as  uncouth  and  artless  a  style  as 
might  be  expected  from  so  rude  and  unpolished  a  people. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Bamboesberg. 

The  Bamboesberg  is  a  portion  of  the  great  Stormberg,  which 
in  this  particular  locality  forms  a  double  range  that  in  the  early 
days  presented  such  an  impenetrable  and  insurmountable  barrier, 
with  its  intricate  and  precipitous  fastnesses,  that  up  to  the  year 
1797  it  was  considered  so  completely  impassable  either  with 
waggons  or  on  horseback,  that  no  one  had  ever  penetrated  into  it. 
These  strongholds,  as  they  had  ever  been,  were  still  in  the  hands 
of  formidable  Bushman  clans.  The  Bamboesberg,  Stormberg,  and 
Tarka  tribes  appear  to  have  belonged  to  the  same  group,  and  fre- 
quently to  have  acted  in  conjunction  with  one  another  in  their 
efforts  to  repel  the  invaders  of  their  ancient  hunting-grounds. 

In  Barrow's  time  a  portion  of  the  Bamboesberg  was  occupied 
by  a  formidable  horde  about  five  hundred  strong,  under  a  captain 
named  by  the  colonists  Lynx.  This  traveller  informs  us  that 
caverns  full  of  their  drawings  were  found  in  some  of  these 
mountains,  such  as  elephants,  hippopotami,  and  among  the  rest 
one  camelopard.^  In  the  course  of  the  journey  he  saw  several 
thousand  figures  of  animals,  but  none  had  the  appearance  of 
being  monstrous,  none  that  could  be  considered  as  works  of  the 
imagination ;  they  were  generally  as  faithful  representations 
of  nature  as  the  talents  of  the  artist  would  allow. 

'  The  writer  has  found  several  drawings  of  the  giraffe  in  the  Zwart  Kei 
and  Tsomo  caves,  also  in  the  Wittebergen  of  the  Orange  Free  State,  in- 
dubitably proving  that  this  animal  was  found  in  the  early  days  over  a  far 
wider  area  of  country  than  at  present. 

172  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

An  instance  of  this  was  shown  in  one  of  the  caves  visited, 
and  one  which  clearly  demonstrates  the  efforts  the  leading  Bush- 
man artists  made  to  copy  nature,  efforts  which  were  crowned 
with  such  success  that  some  chef  d'ceuvres,  the  productions  of 
their  native  Landseers,  must  from  their  correctness  of  outline, 
their  action,  their  shading,  and  their  finish,  fill  every  impartial 
beholder  with  astonishment.  Barrow  found  the  back  shell  of  a 
particular  tortoise,  the  testudo  geometrica,  lying  on  the  floor  of  the 
cave.  The  artist  had  evidently  been  disturbed,  and  thrown 
down  his  model  in  his  flight,  for  on  the  smooth  side  of  the 
cave  the  regular  lines  with  which  it  is  marked,  and  from  which 
it  takes  its  name,  had  been  very  recently  and  very  accurately 
copied  ! 

The  struggle  of  these  mountaineer  Bushmen  was  a  long  and 
desperate  one  ;  the  fact  has  been  recorded,  but  most  of  the 
details  are  lost,  and  those  which  have  been  preserved  are  so  inter- 
woven with  the  border  history  of  the  Colony  that  we  shall  defer 
their  recital  until  we  treat  upon  that  subject.  Sometimes  the 
commandos  committed  frightful  massacres  amongst  them,  and 
ranges  of  mountains  would  appear  cleared  for  the  time ;  but  sud- 
denly they  would  rally  again  in  renewed  strength,  and  the 
avengers  of  blood  would  drive  the  intruders  from  their  home- 
steads, from  the  mountain-rills  and  picturesque  nooks  they  had 
chosen,  to  seek  a  more  secure  retreat  in  the  open  plains.  Thus 
had  the  Tarka  been  abandoned  at  the  time  of  Barrow's  visit. 
The  paintings  found  in  the  Bushman  caves  of  the  Tarka 
mountains  proclaimed  the  rights  and  title  deeds  of  the  aborigines, 
while  the  deserted  farms  in  the  glens  at  their  foot,  where  vineyards 
loaded  with  grapes,  and  peach  trees,  and  almond,  apple,  and  pear 
trees  full  of  fruit  were  found,  and  no  hands  to  pluck  them,  made 
known  the  temporary  defeat  of  the  invaders. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Tooverberg  and  the  Northern  Plains. 

We  have  chosen  the  Tooverberg,  or  Mountain  of  the  Wizard, 
as  the  representative  centre  of  this  group,  as  much  has  been 
recorded  of  the  Bushmen  who  lived  in  its  neighbourhood,  in  con- 
sequence of  a  Bushman  mission  station  having  at  one  time 
existed  there.  This  mountain  received  its  distinguishing  appel- 
lation from  the  Boers  who  first  discovered  it,  from  the  fact  of  its 


being  seen  from  a  great  distance,  and  which  from  its  size  and 
the  flatness  of  the  country  to  the  south  of  it,  they  imagined 
was  much  nearer  than  it  really  was.  It  therefore  appeared  to 
keep  receding  as  they  advanced,  hence  they  gave  it  the  name  of 
the  Mountain  of  the  Wizard. 

In  1820  there  were  many  Bushmen  in  the  country  surrounding 
it.  When  Mr.  Backhouse  visited  them  some  of  them  informed 
him  that  their  forefathers  had  dwelt  there  from  time  immemorial. 
In  the  year  mentioned  they  were  living  under  a  chief  named 
'Na'na'kow  by  his  own  people,  and  Uithaalder  by  the  Dutch. 
His  territory  extended  from  the  Zeekoe  river  to  Van  der  Walt's 
Buffels  Fontein,  and  in  describing  it  'Na'na'kow  used  to  say  that 
he  drank  of  the  Zeekoe  river  and  of  Van  der  Walt's  Fontein. 
The  whole  of  his  country  swarmed  with  elands,  gnus,  and  spring- 

The  first  mission  station  appears  to  have  been  established 
by  Mr.  Kolbe,  a  German  missionary,  but  the  honour  of  having 
first  pleaded  the  cause  of  these  Bushmen  certainly  belongs  to  the 
Rev.  A.  Faure,  a  minister  of  the  Dutch  Reformed  church,  who 
had  long  resided  on  the  exposed  frontier  of  Graaff  Reinet.  His 
evidence  is  both  valuable  and  conclusive  on  the  character  of 
these  Bushmen  for  fidelity  in  any  trust  imposed  upon  them. 
The  farmers,  he  writes,  are  entirely  dependent  on  the  Bushmen 
for  their  welfare.  Few,  if  any,  have  either  slaves  or  Hottentots, 
consequently  they  have  no  means  of  getting  their  cattle  properly 
tended  without  their  assistance.  Such  farmers  as  possess  Bush- 
men have  been  in  the  habit  of  committing  to  them  the  charge 
of  their  flocks,  and  they  have  proved  such  faithful  shepherds 
that  the  farmers  have  not  hesitated  to  give  them  some  hundreds 
of  ewes  and  other  cattle  to  sojourn  with  them  beyond  the  limits 
of  the  Colony. 

The  Bushman,  having  received  a  reward  of  some  tobacco, 
dacha  or  wild  hemp  leaves,  for  smoking,  and  perhaps  two  or  three 
ewes,  left  the  habitation  of  the  colonist,  drove  the  cattle  into 
distant  parts,  with  the  fertility  of  which  he  was  well  acquainted, 
and  after  an  absence  of  some  months  returned  to  the  farmer  his 
cattle  in  such  improved  condition  that  had  they  not  had  his 
particular  mark  upon  them,  he  would  with  difficulty  have  credited 
that  they  were  the  same  animals  which  on  account  of  their  lean- 


ness  the  Bushman  could  with  difficulty  remove  from  his  farm. 
Facts  of  this  kind  prove  not  only  the  individual  honesty  of  the 
Bushman  thus  trasted,  but  also  the  general  honesty  of  all  those 
of  his  race  with  whom  he  must  have,  of  necessity,  come  in  con- 
tact during  the  long  period  of  his  wanderings.  Sometimes  the 
farmer,  Mr.  Faure  continues,  put  the  fidelity  of  the  Bushman  to 
the  test  by  sending  one  or  two  of  his  acquaintances  to  try  whether 
they  could  not  obtain  a  sheep  by  promising  some  reward,  but 
the  instances  were  rare  in  which  such  messengers  succeeded. 
Many  farmers  on  the  frontier  assured  Mr.  Faure  that  had  it  not 
been  for  the  Bushmen  they  saw  no  means  of  breeding  cattle. 

Bearing  upon  this  subject.  Colonel  Collins,  in  his  report  (1809) 
upon  the  native  tribes,  recommended  that  the  Bushmen  should 
be  introduced  into  the  colony,  collected  and  instructed  in  in- 
stitutions, and  then  dispersed  among  the  colonists.  He  pointed 
out  such  positions  as  he  considered  most  eligible  for  the  formation 
of  stations  under  proper  regulations.  The  Bushmen,  he  stated, 
often  suffered  extreme  misery,  but  seldom  robbed  except  to  satisfy 
their  wants,  and  afforded  the  fairest  hope  of  becoming  in  time 
useful  to  themselves  and  to  the  colony.  Humanity  and  policy 
therefore  combined  to  prompt  the  adoption  of  every  measure  that 
could  tend  to  alleviate  their  unhappy  lot  and  attach  them  to  the 
settlers.  He  pointed  out  the  necessity  of  some  steps  being 
immediately  taken,  lest  the  inhabitants  becoming  tired  of  their 
importunities,  the  Bushmen  should  return  to  the  mountains 
and  recommence  their  former  predatory  mode  of  life. 

From  the  above  it  would  appear  that  there  was  a  short  lull 
about  this  time  in  the  war  of  extermination  which  had  raged  for 
upwards  of  thirty  years  with  vindictive  violence,  sweeping  over 
the  fated  Bushman  territory  in  a  pitiless  storm  of  blood ;  and  it 
would  have  been  well  for  the  cause  of  humanity  and  the  honour  of 
the  British  name  had  this  warning  voice  been  listened  to,  and 
this  opportunity  of  arresting  the  extinction  of  this  cruelly 
treated  and  unhappy  race  been  seized  and  utilized,  as  was 
so  earnestly  recommended  in  Colonel  Collins'  valuable  report. 
But  alas  !  this  fitting  opportunity  was  allowed  to  pass,  and  a 
second  period  of  war  and  extermination  was  entered  upon  as 
remorselessly  and  pitilessly  as  the  one  which  had  preceded  it, 
and  which  every  right-minded  man  must  look  upon  with  humilia- 


tion  and  abasement,  when  he  considers  that  although  it  was 
accomplished  by  the  same  agency  as  before,  it  was  carried  out 
under  the  auspices  of  a  government  whose  proud  boast  was  that 
it  ever  upheld  the  cause  of  justice  and  right,  defended  from  their 
oppressors  the  weak,  and  struck  off  the  fetters  from  the  slave. 

In  1814  a  mission  was  established  at  Tooverberg,  near  the 
site  of  the  present  town  of  Colesberg,  and  another  was  founded 
at  Hephzibah  at  a  subsequent  period.     In  about  a  month's 
time  there  were  collected  at  the  latter  place  no  fewer  than  eight 
hundred    and    eighty-seven    Bushmen,  exclusive    of    chUdren ; 
and  the  Bushmen  belonging  to  the  two  stations  at  this  period 
amounted  to  seventeen  himdred.     The  Bushmen  having  once 
settled  at  the  station,  generally  went  out  to  invite  others  of  their 
nation  to  join  them,  and  when  they  succeeded,  these  were   in- 
troduced to  the  missionary,  and  after  staying  a  few  days  at  the 
institution,  usually  returned  to  bring  their  families  with  them. 
During  the  continuance  of  these  institutions  they  committed  no 
depredations  in  the  Colony,  or  an37where  else.     Not  only  were 
there  no  depredations,  but  no  pretext  [was  found  for  the  visita- 
tion on  the  part  of  the  colonists  of  those  terrible  armed  parties 
which  had  caused  so  much  havoc  among  the  hapless  aborigines. 
But  the  Bushmen  were  not  allowed  to  remain  long  in  peaceful 
possession  of  the  lands  which  they  were  learning  to  cultivate 
with  the  inherent  energy  of  their  race.     Too  many  greedy  eyes 
were  set  upon  the  fountains  which  watered  the  fertUe  fields 
they  had  been  taught  to  sow.     In  1816  some  differences  arose 
between  the  resident  missionary  of  Tooverberg  and  some  of  the 
neighbouring  farmers  who  had  appropriated  the  country  respect- 
ing the  seizure  of  some  children  belonging  to  the  station.     This 
disagreement  became  the  pretext  for  the  suppression  of    the 
missions ;     the    fieldcomet    Van    der  Walt   was    against    the 
missions,  and  had  reported  unfavourably  about  them  to  the 
landdrost.    No  specific  charges  appear  to  have  been  made,  nor 
was  any  investigation  instituted.     A  kind  of  general  assertion 
was  advanced  that  the  collection  of  so  many  savages  so  near  the 
colonial  border  was  a  menace  to  the  peace  of  the  colony. 

Poor  Bushmen  !  the  colonial  border  advanced  upon  them, 
not  they  towards  the  frontier  line.  This  however  mattered  not, 
Lord  Charles  Somerset  merely  stated  that  he  was  under  the 

176  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

obligation  of  recalling  the  missionaries  within  the  limits  of  the 
colony,  as  these  Bushman  institutions  were  detrimental  to  its 
interests.  The  manner  in  which  they  were  detrimental  can  only 
be  decided  by  the  action  which  was  almost  immediately  initiated. 
About  1819-20  the  greater  part  of  the  mission  Bushmen  were 
either  killed  or  frightened  away  by  the  great  influx  of  Boers  in 
that  year. 

How  it  could  be  for  a  moment  imagined  that  this  arbitrary 
and  continual  seizure  of  land,  without  the  slightest  reservation 
being  made  for  the  unfortunate  outcasts  whose  fathers  had 
occupied  it  unchallenged  from  time  immemorial,  could  be  carried 
into  effect  without  outraging  every  sense  of  justice,  seems  almost 
marvellous  ;  yet  still  more  so  on  our  finding  that  when  a  hapless 
Bushman,  not  only  deprived  of  his  ancient  covmtry  but  also  of 
the  very  game  which  had  been  to  him  as  much  his  means  of  sub- 
sistence as  the  flocks  and  herds  of  the  intruders  who  were  super- 
seding him  were  of  theirs,  happened  to  steal  a  sheep  to  keep  himself 
and  his  family  from  starving,  if  apprehended  and  taken  alive,  he 
was  publicly  flogged  under  the  scaffold,  branded  with  a  hot  iron, 
put  in  irons,  and  condemned  to  hard  labour. 

'Na'na'kow,  the  last  Bushman  captain  of  the  Tooverberg, 
still  clung  to  the  old  haunts  of  his  fathers,  notwithstanding  the 
bloody  fate  of  most  of  his  tribe,  to  the  year  1825,  when  he  was 
seen  there  by  Dr.  Philip.  He  stated  that  many  years  before 
his  father's  kraal,  without  the  least  provocation,  had  been  suddenly 
attacked  by  a  party  of  Boers  from  the  Colony ;  and  that  his 
father  and  many  himdreds  of  his  people,  men,  women,  and 
children,  had  been  killed  ;  that  afterwards  ten  waggons  were  laden 
with  the  surviving  children  and  driven  off  to  the  colony  by  the 
attacking  party  ;  that  since  that  time  many  commandos  had 
come  against  his  people,  that  multitudes  of  them  had  been  shot, 
and  the  children  carried  away  ;  that  when  the  missionary  came 
he  ploughed  and  sowed  land  for  them,  and  when  the  harvest  was 
ripe,  he  taught  them  how  to  cut  down  the  com,  and  divided  it 
among  them  ;  and  they  were  happy,  for  no  more  commandos 
came  upon  them  ;  that  some  moons  after  the  missionary  had 
left  them  the  Boers  came  and  took  possession  of  the  fountains 
and  chased  them  from  the  land  of  Tooverberg,  the  land  of  their 
fathers,  and  made  them  go  and  herd  their  sheep  and  forced  their 


children  into  perpetual  servitude  ;  and  that  he,  without  people, 
with  only  his  wife  and  four  children,  was  hiding  amongst  the 
mountains  and  subsisting  on  roots  and  locusts  ;  that  whenever 
sheep  or  goats  or  cattle  strayed,  or  were  stolen,  the  Boers  said 
that  the  Bushmen  had  stolen  them,  and  they  were  flogged  and 
shot  on  suspicion  only,  for  the  cattle  and  sheep  which  had  been 
taken  by  others  or  destroyed  by  hyenas,  lions,  or  panthers. 

Such  was  the  statement  of  a  Bushman  when  heard  in  his  own 
defence,  and  it  seems  to  contain  a  large  amount  of  truth,  when 
compared  with  whatever  collateral  evidence  can  be  obtained  upon 
the  subject.  It  seems  also  a  significant  fact  that  Fieldcomet 
Van  der  Walt,  the  very  man  who  was  the  most  active  in  raising 
the  outcry  against  the  institutions  intended  for  the  benefit  of 
the  Bushmen,  was  the  one  who  profited  most  by  their  suppression, 
by  possessing  himself  of  a  large  portion  of  the  lands  attached  to 
them  and  forcing  some  of  the  people  into  his  service,  even 
Uithaalder  himself,  imtil  the  treatment  he  received  determined 
him  to  escape  once  more  to  his  native  mountains.  For  several 
years  longer  he  tenaciously  clung  to  the  home  of  his  fathers, 
until  the  same  tragical  fate  overtook  him  as  had  befallen  the  rest 
of  his  tribe.  He  and  a  few  faithful  followers  who  had  rallied 
round  him  were  shot  by  a  commando  under  the  same^Van  der 
Walt,  who  was  then  Field-Commandant,  about  the  year  1827-8, 
and  thus  perished  the  last  ruler  of  the  Tooverberg  Bushmen. 


Chapter    X 



It  has  been  said  by  the  supporters  of  Griqua  claims  that 
when  the  missionaries  first  took  possession  of  Klaarwater,  the 
country  was  unoccupied.  The  fallacy  of  this  assertion  will  be 
fully  proved  as  we  proceed  with  our  investigation.  In  1820 
a  considerable  number  of  Bushmen  were  still  living  scattered  over 
the  country  between  Griquatown  and  Lithako,  the  great  place 
at  that  time  of  the  Batlapin.  They  appear,  however,  to  have 
congregated  principally  about  the  locality  called  Re57ner  Mountain 
and  from  Koing  Fontein  and  Alers  plain  on  the  west  to  the 
Malalarene  and  Kolong  on  the  east.  They  were  often  met  with 
in  small  parties,  in  miserable  huts,  on  the  open  flats.  These  all 
belonged  to  the  sculptor  tribes,  and  few  of  them,  as  we  have 
already  pointed  out,  appear  to  have  lived  in  caves,  owing  doubt- 
less to  the  peculiar  formation  of  the  country,  in  which  any  large 
numbers  of  rock-shelters  are  seldom  met  with. 

As  in  every  instance  where  the  stronger  races  have  come  in 
contact  with  these  aboriginal  hunters,  the  Koranas,  Griquas, 
and  Batlapin  displayed  the  utmost  vindictiveness  towards 
them.  It  seemed  a  strange  perversion  of  ideas  in  aU  these  tribes, 
which  were  accustomed  to  condemn  the  Bushmen  with  such 
vehemency  as  rogues,  that  they  should  themselves  be  professional 
thieves  whenever  they  had  an  opportunity.  The  only  difference 
between  them  as  to  roguery  was  that  the  Bushmen  stole  in  small 
companies  and  the  others  in  large  parties  like  an  army.  The  same 
way  of  judging,  however,  is  as  common  in  Europe,  the  crime  and 
the  charge  seem  both  lost  where  the  perpetrators  are  numerous. 

Mr.  Campbell  states  that  upon  one  occasion  when  with  their 
accustomed  hatred,  some  Batlapin  could  scarcely  be  restrained 
from  dispatching  a  couple  of  Bushmen  who  had  been  made 
prisoners  by  his  Hottentot  servants,  he  attempted  to  point  out 


THE    BUSHMEN    OF    REYNER    MOUNTAIN       179 

to  them  that  the  only  difference  between  the  crime  of  the  Batlapin 
and  the  Bushmen  was  that  the  former  did  it  upon  a  larger  scale 
than  the  latter.  While  the  Bushmen  contented  themselves 
with  what  was  necessary  to  supply  present  wants,  the  Batlapin 
in  their  commandos  took  from  one  another  hundreds  and  thou- 
sands of  cattle.  When  the  Batlapin  were  reasoned  with  on  the 
cruelty  of  their  disposition  towards  the  Bushmen,  they  justified 
themselves  by  the  bad  qualities  they  ascribed  to  them. 

These  Bushmen  seldom  attempted  to  seize  many  cattle  at 
once,  and  their  raids  were  made  more  to  supply  the  cravings  of 
hunger  than  to  gratify  any  desire  for  the  accumulation  of  large 
herds,  such  as  impelled  the  neighbouring  Hottentot  and  Bachoana 
tribes  to  make  continuous  forays  upon  one  another.  As  soon  as 
they  had  succeeded  in  securing  a  small  quantity  of  cattle,  they 
generally  signalled  to  their  brethren  from  the  top  of  some  hill, 
that  they  might  know  from  the  ascending  smoke  that  a  capture 
had  been  made  and  that  they  had  better  get  out  of  the  way. 

One  of  the  great  places  of  refuge  for  the  Bushmen  in  this 
part  of  the  countty  was  about  three  mUes  to  the  south  of  Neale's 
Fontein,  on  an  elevation  in  the  plain  where  there  was  a  remark- 
able excavation  in  the  solid  rock.  It  was  about  a  quarter  of  a 
mile  in  circumference.  The  rock  was  perpendicular  all  round, 
and  about  one  hundred  feet  high,  excepting  a  declivity  in  one 
part  of  it  which  was  easUy  ascended.  This  was  covered  with  trees, 
while  no  other  trees  were  found  in  that  part  of  the  plain.  At 
the  bottom  was  a  deep  pool  of  excellent  water.  Almost  on  a 
level  with  the  surface  of  the  water  was  a  cave,  which  had  a  narrow 
entrance,  and  was  frequently  used  by  Bushmen  as  a  refuge  from 
their  pursuers  when  they  had  stolen  cattle,  because  here  they 
could  feast  in  safety,  for  though  the  Batlapin  would  sometimes 
pursue  them  to  the  mouth  of  the  cave,  they  never  had  courage 
to  follow  them  into  that  dark  abode. 

That  these  Bushmen  under  different  treatment  would  have 
been  capable  of  improvement,  and  were  not  altogether  the  irre- 
daimable  savages  that  their  enemies,  the  Griquas  and  Batlapin, 
delighted  to  depict  them,  is  illustrated  by  a  fact  mentioned 
by  Mr.  Campbell,  of  a  Griqua  who  had  been  able  with  great  labour 
to  cut  a  canal  near  the  source'of  a  stream,  by  which  he  could  lead 
.a  sufficient  supply  of  water  over  aU  his  land,  and  this  he  had  been 


enabled  to  accomplish  through  the  assistance  of  the  Bushmen. 

One  of  their  chiefs  was  Uving  in  1820  in'  a  district  at  the 
south  end  of  Re3Tier  Mountain,  about  half-way  between  Griqua- 
town  and  Lithako.  His  name  was  'Hon'ke,  or  the  Little  Lamb, 
and  he  was  the  son  of  'Hon'ke-yeng,  the  Very  Little  Lamb.  He 
informed  Mr.  Campbell  that  he  and  his  forefathers  had  always 
lived  at  the  same  place,  and  that  his  people  were  formerly  more 
numerous  than  at  that  time,  their  number  having  been  reduced 
by  disease  and  by  attacks  of  the  Bachoana.  'Hon'ke  stated  that 
he  had  never  travelled  farther  to  the  north  than  Koening  Fontein, 
a  place  about  twenty  miles  from  his  kraal,  except  once  when  he 
carried  a  letter  to  Lithako,  or  farther  to  the  east  than  the  'Gij- 
'Gariep  or  Vaal  river,  where  he  went  to  steal  cattle.  He  con- 
fessed that  he  had  killed  five  men,  either  in  fighting  about  game 
or  in  revenge  for  their  having  murdered  some  of  his  friends. 
Common  report,  however,  gave  him  credit  for  having  killed  a 
much  larger  number.  In  all  his  combats  he  had  only  received 
two  wounds  from  poisoned  arrows,  one  in  his  right  arm,  the  other 
in  his  side,  either  of  which  would  have  proved  mortal  had  not 
the  flesh  been  instantly  cut  out.  Although  in  earlier  times 
there  were  frequent  skirmishes  among  Bushmen,  he  said  that  the 
men  of  other  Bushman  tribes  never  attacked  him  then,  being 
afraid  because  they  knew  that  he  was  a  brave  and  resolute  man. 

Like  all  their  countrymen,  these  Bushmen  were  exposed  to 
great  hardships,  being  often  destitute  of  food  for  several  suc- 
cessive days  during  seasons  when  both  roots  and  game  were 
scarce.  When  flesh  was  plentiful  they  had  a  mode  of  drying  it 
and  then  pounding  it  to  powder,  in  which  state  it  kept  many 
days.  One  of  the  Bushmen  of  this  tribe  was  pointed  out  who 
had  an  aged  mother-in-law,  and  it  was  stated  that  one  day  during 
his  absence  from  home  her  own  daughter,  his  wife,  dragged  the 
old  woman  into  the  veld  and  left  her  alive  among  the  bushes, 
where  she  was  torn  to  pieces  by  the  hyenas  the  sartie  night. 
The  chief  said,  in  speaking  of  such  matters,  that  the  Bushmen 
did  not  think  they  had  souls  ;  they  died  one  after  the  other,  the 
young  people  were  buried  and  the  old  thrown  to  the  wild  beasts. 

The  greater  number  of  these  Bushmen  were  subsequently 
hunted  down  and  destroyed  by  the  Griquas  and  Batlapin,  who 
never  allowed  an  opportunity  to  escape  of  venting  their  feelings 


of  hatred  upon  them  ;  the  miserable  remnant  the  Griqua  chief 
Waterboer  took  under  his  protection. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Malalarene  and  'Kolong. 

The  branch  of  the  Vaal  now  generally  marked  on  maps  as 
the  Hart  river  appears  in  former  days  to  have  been  distinguished 
by  three  different  names,  each  indicating  a  particular  portion 
of  the  stream.  The  Lower  Hart  near  its  junction  with  the  Vaal 
was  known  as  the  ^Kolong,  the  central  portion  as  the  'Hhou,  while 
the  upper  had  received  the  appellation  of  the  Malalarene,  the 
two  first  being  of  Bushman  origin,  the  last  of  Bachoana. 

Bushmen  were  at  one  time  very  numerous  in  this  locality, 
hunting  as  far  to  the  north  as  Kuruman,  and  even  in  1820, 
between  this  place  and  T'shopo  numerous  pitfalls  were  to  be 
seen,  which  had  been  excavated  by  them.  To  the  eastward  their 
hunting  grounds  reached  to  the  Vaal,  and  the  great  chief  of  their 
clans  was  looked  upon  as  the  most  powerful  Bushman  captain  in 
that  region.  They,  like  those  of  Reyner  Mountain,  belonged  to 
the  sculptor  branch  of  the  Bushman  family.  Much  of  the  little 
history  which  has  been  preserved  about  them  is  so  intermingled 
with  that  of  the  neighbouring  tribes  that  we  shall  reserve  its 
details  until  treating  of  the  latter. 

In  1820  the  name  of  their  great  chief  was  Ma'ku-une  ;  his 
father's  name  was  'Kama'cha,  and  that  of  his  mother  'Ab.  His 
father  died  before  he  was  bom,  when  his  mother  married 
another  Bushman,  named  'Ta'ku.  He  informed  Mr.  Campbell 
that  when  he  was  young  the  Bushmen  of  those  parts  were  far 
more  numerous  than  they  were  at  that  time.  Many  of  them 
had  been  destroyed  in  attacks  by  the  Batlapin  and  Koranas. 
The  first  raid  in  which  he  had  been  engaged  was  against  the 
Batlapin,  in  which,  though  many  oxen  were  captured,  the  whole 
were  eaten  in  two  days.  His  second  was  undertaken  against  the 
Ta-ma-has,  but  in  this  they  were  frustrated,  as  their  design 
had  been  discovered,  and  his  party  returned  without  booty. 
Only  one  woman,  who  was  found  concealing  herself,  was  killed. 
Another  foray  in  which  he  was  engaged  was  directed  against  the 
Baharara,  another  portion  of  the  same  tribe,  when  they  were 
more  successful ;  but  again  on  this  occasion  the  cattle  which 

i82  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

were  captured  only  furnished  a  sufficiency  for  a  feast  of  two  days. 
His  last  expedition  was  when  his  people  united  with  the  Koranas 
against  the  Batlapin.  He  had  raised  his  fame  among  his  tribe  as 
a  great  hunter,  having  killed  during  his  lifetime  four  Hons,  one 
panther,  two  leopards,  three  camelopards,  seven  buffaloes,  two 
rhinoceroses,  two  gnus,  one  hippopotamus,  and  numberless  quag- 
gas,  besides  other  game. 

A  few  years  previously  he  had  about  one  hundred  people 
with  him  in  his  kraal ;  murders  and  disease  had,  however,  so 
thinned  their  ranks  that  in  1820  they  were  reduced  to  a  small 
number.  He  had  still  a  few  people  at  three  different  places 
who  acknowledged  subjection  to  him. 

The  Bushmen  of  this  part  were  all  of  diminutive  size,  and  did 
not  paint  their  bodies  like  many  of  the  other  tribes,  except  on 
special  occasions.  However  wretched  and  starved  they  appeared 
in  times  of  scarcity,  with  a  change  to  good  living  they  fattened 
in  a  few  weeks,  like  cattle  when  translated  from  barren  heaths 
to  good  pasturage. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  'Gij  'Gariep  or  Vaal. 

There  can  be  no  doubt  but  that  the  portion  of  this  river  valley 
between  the  junction  of  the  Vaal  with  the  'Gumaam  or  Vet  and 
the  'Kolong  was  thickly  inhabited  by  the  sculptor  branch  of  the 
Bushman  race  from  a  very  remote  period.  Some  of  the  evidences 
of  this  lengthened  occupation  have  already  been  referred  to  ; 
similar  proofs  upon  this  point  might  be  advanced,  but  those  to 
which  we  have  alluded  will  be  sufficient  to  substantiate  the  fact. 
Their  headquarters  appear  to  have  been  at  the  kopje  behind  the 
Pniel  mission  station  and  the  one  situated  half-way  between  that 
place  and  the  Kimberley  diamond  mine.  Scattered  around  these, 
the  traces  of  a  number  of  minor  outstations  are  to  be  found. 

It  is  here  and  at  the  'Gumaap,  or  Great  Riet  river,  that  the 
finest  specimens  of  their  sculptures  are  to  be  found,  and  it  was 
here  also  that  Bushmen  had  made  the  greatest  advances  towards 
a  more  comfortable  state  of  existence.  This  was  especially  the 
case  with  those  clans  occupying  the  country  towards  the  'Gu- 
maam, or  Vet  river,  where  the  friendly  intercourse  which  had 
sprung  up  between  them  and  the  Leghoya,  an  emigrant  tribe  of 

THE    BUSHMEN    OF   THE    'NU    'GARIEP         183 

the  Bachoana  who  had  settled  amongst  them,  had  been  beneficial 
in  advancing  them  in  the  scale  of  comfort  and  civilization  far 
beyond  that  found  among  any  of  the  more  western  tribes.  They 
had  become  semi-pastoral,  possessing  comparatively  many  cattle, 
some  of  the  kraals  being  the  owners  of  as  many  as  five  himdred  head. 
This  progress,  however,  proved  the  very  means  of  ensuring 
their  speedy  destruction  as  soon  as  their  country  was  invaded 
by  the  more  lawless,  yet  stronger  races,  with  whose  history  their 
extermination  was  so  interwoven  that  it  will  be  necessary  for 
us  to  postpone  the  investigation  of  this  portion  of  our  subject 
until  we  treat  of  the  career  of  such  tribes  as  the  Koranas, 
Griquas,  and  Basutu.  It  is  the  same  story  of  injustice,  oppression, 
and  cruelty  as  that  which  we  have  related  about  the  Bushmen  of 
the  Tooverberg,  aggravated  towards  its  close  by  the  advent  of 
the  men  who  for  the  last  century  had  been  the  bitterest  perse- 
cutors of  this  ill-fated  race. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  'Nu  'Gariep,  or  Upper  Orange. 

The  Bushman  tribes  inhabiting  the  basin  of  the  'Nua  'Gariep 
may  be  divided  into  several  groups.  One  of  these  occupied  the 
country  from  the  Makaleng  or  Komet  Spruit  to  beyond  Thaba 
Bosigo,  including  the  'Kheme,  and  to  Platberg  on  the  right  bank 
of  the  Noka  Mogokare  or  Caledon.  They  acknowledged  a  Bush- 
man captain,  Lekomnetsa  by  name,  as  their  great  chief,  who  was 
an  old  man  in  1820,^  and  who  was  succeeded  by  'Khiba,  or 
'Kheba,  who  was  the  paramount  chief  over  the  men  of  the  caves 
from  Matlakeng,  or  the  Place  of  the  Vultures,  to  the  Great  Hang- 
lip  in  the  Genadeberg.  These  Bushmen  were  called  Baroa  ba 
Makhoma  Khotu  by  the  Basutu,  as  some  of  the  kraals  had  cattle 
in  their  possession.  M.  Arbousset  mentions  a  second  group  called 
Mamanchou,  who  took  their  name  from  one  of  the  great  women 
of  the  tribe,  but  he  does  not  mention  the  locality  in  which  they 
lived.  He  also  states  that  'Kheme,'Rhosatsaneng,  'Ku'ku,  and  'Koes 
(Koesberg)  are  some  of  the  oldest  Bushman  names  in  the  coimtry . 

Another  powerful  group  of  clans  occupied  the  right  bank  of 
the  'Nu  'Gariep  from  its  junction  with  the  Noka  Mogokare  or 
Caledon,  up  along  the  course  of  the  stream  beyond  Lotter's  Kop, 

*  Notes  of  Charles  Sirr  Orpen.    Letter  from  M.  Arbousset  in  1859. 

i84  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

Lichtenstein,  and  Riebeeksdal ;  and  in  the  opposite  direction  as 
far  as  Badfontein  to  Bosjes  Spruit,  while  towards  the  north  the 
caves  in  Mononong  or  Great  Aasvogelkop  were  included  in  their 
territory.  The  paramount  chief  at  the  beginning  of  this  century 
was  Ow'ku'ru'keu,  or  as  he  was  called  by  the  Bastaards  and  Dutch, 
Baardman  the  elder.  'Kwaha,'  who  was  a  petty  captain  of  his 
tribe,  says  that  although  Ow'ku'ru'keu,  who  was  his  mother's 
uncle,  was  a  true  Bushman,  he  was  a  big  man  and  fat.  He  and 
different  members  of  his  family  had  obtained  the  sobriquet  of 
Baardman,  or  the  bearded  man,  on  account  of  a  marked  peculi- 
arity which  they  possessed.  They  were  not  only,  like  the  other 
Bushmen  of  their  tribe,  short  and  well-built,  but  they  had  thick 
heavy  beards  and  large  moustaches,  which  marked  them  at  once 
from  the  ordinary  Bushmen,  whose  faces,  as  a  rule,  are  destitute 
of  any  such  hirsute  appendages  ;  and  which  in  this  case  arose  in 
all  probability  from  some  intermixture  of  blood.  His  great  place 
or  cave  was  lower  down  the  Caledon  than  that  of  'Kwaha,  a  little 
above  its  junction  with  the  'Nu  'Gariep.  The  cave,  or  as  it 
might  be  called  from  the  beauty  and  number  of  its  paintings,  the 
palace-cave  of  his  father,  however,  was  the  one  which  from  its 
symbolic  figure  was  termed  the  Cave  of  the  Hippopotamus,  in 
the  rocky  gorge  or  ravine  running  to  the  Orange  river  on  the 
farm  Lichtenstein. 

Ow'ku'ru'keu,  although  he  did  not  live  there  himself,  was 
proud  of  this  grand  representation  of  the  large  charging  hippo- 
potamus as  well  as  the  other  paintings  which  adorned  the  home 
of  his  fathers.  He  was  already  a  very  old  man  in  1839,  when  he 
was  first  met  by  one  of  the  voortrekkers  named  David  Swanepoel,^ 

^  'Kwaha  informed  Mr.  C.  S.  Orpen  that  his  father  was  a  Ghona 
Hottentot,  who  was  born  at  the  Sea-cow  river,  in  the  district  of  Colesberg, 
and  therefore  in  the  territory  of  'Na'na'kow,  the  last  chief  of  the  Toover- 
berg.  His  mother,  whose  name  was  Candass  'Khou'kuha,  belonged  to  a 
clan  living  in  the  Kraamberg,  near  the  present  Aliwal  North,  and  was  a 
niece  of  Ow'ku'ru'keu.  The  influence  therefore  of  this  chief  extended  to 
the  left  bank  of  the  'Nu  Gariep.  'Kwaha  was  born  in  a  cave  on  the  right 
side  of  the  Caledon,  opposite  Tweefontein,  and  a  Uttle  distance  above  the 
junction  of  this  river  with  the  'Nu  Gariep.  'Kwaha  was  a  young  man, 
and  had  not  taken  a  wife,  when  the  first  missionary  came  to  T'kout'koo, 
now  Bethuhe.  He  was  known  by  the  name  of  Aerk,  and  was  followed  by 
Mr.  Kolbe. 

^  David  Swanepoel,  an  old  farmer  of  considerable  intelligence,  was  one 
of  those  who  in  the  early  days  were  in  the  habit  of  crossing  the  Orange 

THE    BUSHMEN    OF    THE    'NU    'GARIEP         185 

to  whom  he  frequently  boasted  of  the  beautiful  paintings  which 
ornamented  the  wall  of  the  great  place  of  his  father,  saying  that 
when  he  had  seen  them  he  would  be  able  to  say  that  he  had  seen 
paintings.  In  those  days  all  the  rivers  abounded  with  hippo- 
potami, and  troops  of  elephants  were  found  in  every  kloof  and 
near  every  vlei,  which  extended,  in  some  parts,  in  great  chains 
of  reed-fringed  pools  for  miles  in  the  hollows  of  the  vast  plains. 

Ow'Ku'ru'keu  was  always  desirous  of  maintaining  peace  with 
his  neighbours.  The  number  of  his  subjects  was  considerable, 
and  'Kwaha  affirmed  that  he  was  loved  very  much  by  them  and 
always  gave  advice  towards  peace.  Living  so  near  the  banks  of 
large  rivers,  these  people  were  great  and  successful  fishermen. 
The  voortrekkers  termed  them  Friendly  Bushmen,  but  their 
peaceful  disposition  did  not  save  them  ;  the  tribe  was  broken  up 
by  the  intruders,  and  they  were  dispossessed  of  their  land. 

Ow'ku'ru'keu  escaped  the  dismemberment  of  his  tribe  caused 
by  the  intrusion  of  the  Boer  squatters  into  the  country  originally 
occupied  by  his  people,  yet,  although  he  abandoned  the  place 
himself,  a  small  clan  stiU  clung  to  the  grand  retreat  of  their 
ancestors  in  the  Lichtenstein  gorge  ;  but  their  end  was  a  tragical 
one.  They  fell,  together  with  Knecht  Windvogel  and  his  tribe, 
by  the  treachery  of  a  notorious  and  still  more  infamous  free- 
booter, called  Danster  by  the  Dutch.  His  vindictiveness  was 
directed  against  Windvogel  and  his  people,  when  the  Bushmen 
from  Lichtenstein  accompanying  them  fell  likewise  into  the 

What  the  cause  of  the  offence  was  is  not  known,  but  having 
resolved  upon  his  diabolical  scheme,  he  gave  a  grand  feast  and 
beer-drinking  for  the  express  purpose  of  entrapping  these  people, 
towards  whom  he  had  always  previously  expressed  great  friend- 
ship. He  sent  therefore  an  invitation  to  them,  informing  them 
that  on  a  certain  day  he  intended  to  give  this  great  feast,  de- 
siring them  to  be  present.  Not  having  the  slightest  suspicion 
of  any  sinister  design,  the  proffered  hospitality  was  accepted 
without  hesitation  ;  and  on  the  appointed  day  the  whole  of  both 
the  clans  attended.  Their  host  was  lavish  both  in  demonstra- 
tions of  friendship  and  in  supplies  of  beer.     Not  suspecting  the 

river  for  the  purpose  of  hunting,  when  the  Bushmen  were  still  in  undis- 
turbed possession  of  the  country. 

i86  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

least  evil  or  danger,  they  gave  themselves  up  to  conviviality  and 
the  indulgences  of  the  banquet ;  feasting  and  dancing  were  the 
order  of  the  day,  but  when  his  too  confident  guests,  whom  he 
plied  steadily  for  that  purpose,  were  muddled  with  the  heavy 
potations  or  lying  helpless  with  the  intoxication  which  followed, 
suddenly,  without  notice,  at  a  given  signal — a  shrUl  whistle — 
the  entertainers  with  assagai  and  shield  sprang  upon  their  un- 
suspecting victims,  and  murdered  men,  women,  and  children 
without  mercy.     Not  a  soid  escaped  ! 

Ow'ku'ru'keu  survived  until  the  year  i860,  and  although  at 
that  time  he  was  in  extreme  old  age,  he  was  still  energetic  and 
active.  He  then  occupied  a  small  kraal  with  his  wives  and  a 
few  of  his  sons,  near  the  junction  of  the  Riet  and  Modder  rivers, 
on  a  farm  in  the  possession  of  one  Joubert.  His  eldest  son, 
Baardman  the  younger,  whom  he  had  not  seen  for  some  fifty 
years,  he  had  sold  for  three  she-goats  to  a  wandering  hunter 
named  Hans  Pretorius,  who,  according  to  Bushman  tradition, 
was  the  first  Boer  that  ever  crossed  the  Orange  river. 

This  fact  was  corroborated  in  the  following  manner :  In  i860 
the  locality  above  mentioned  was  visited  by  Mr.  Jan  Wessels, 
who  saw  the  old  Bushman  captain  there.  Mr.  Wessels  had  with 
him  at  the  time  a  Bushman  who  had  been  a  number  of  years  in 
his  service.  This  man  was  about  sixty  years  of  age,  and  also 
possessed  a  thick  bushy  beard  and  moustache.  He  was  called 
Baardman  the  younger,  and  had  always  declared  himself  to  be 
a  son  of  the  great  Bushman  captain  Baardman,  who  had  some 
fifty  years  before  sold  him  to  a  Boer.  Since  that  time  he  had 
never  seen  his  father,  but  had  always  remained  in  the  service  of 
the  Boers,  one  of  whom  he  had  accompanied  to  Natal. 

Long  as  the  intervening  time  had  been  since  the  parent  and 
child  had  seen  each  other,  the  younger  Baardman  immediately 
recognised  and  pointed  out  his  father,  and  went  up  and  accosted 
him.  So  little  had  the  old  man  aged,  that  there  appeared  to  be 
hardly  any  difference  between  them.  The  meeting  was  a  very 
cool  one,  and  the  son  immediately  upbraided  his  father,  charged 
him  with  having  sold  him  to  the  Boers,  and  demanded  as  a  matter 
of  right  and  justice  the  same  number  of  ewe  goats  as  his  pro- 
genitor had  obtained  by  selling  him.  After  some  altercation, 
the  parent  agreed  to  hand  over  to  his  descendant  the  spoil  he 


had  obtained  for  him.     This  was  accordingly  done,  and  they 
parted  never  to  meet  again. 

The  date  of  old  Ow'ku'ru'keu's  death  is  unrecorded  ;  but  the 
son  stUl  continued,  as  he  had  always  done  before,  whenever 
slightly  elevated,  to  proclaim  the  extent  of  his  father's  former 
dominions,  his  numerous  subjects,  and  the  power  which  he 
possessed  as  one  of  the  greatest  Bushman  captains  of  the  'Nu 
'Gariep.  In  his  later  years'  he  added  to  his  former  declarations 
that  as  soon  as  he  possessed  the  means  he  would  go  to  Victoria 
and  show  her  how  imjustly  he  and  his  father  had  been  dispos- 
sessed of  their  lands.  He  died  about  1875  in  Rouxville,  at  an 
advanced  age,  being  last  in  the  service  of  Mr.  J .  C.  Chase,  of  that 
town  ;  and  thus  perished  the  last  representative  of  the  great 
chiefs  of  the  Bushmen  of  the  'Nu  'Gariep. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Genadeberg  and  the  Mountains  around 


The  caves  and  fastnesses  of  these  mountains  formed  the 
strongholds  of  a  very  powerful  and  numerous  tribe,  or  rather 
group  of  tribes,  as  there  were  a  number  of  outstations  which 
were  occupied  by  smaller  clans,  but  who  acknowledged  the 
paramount  authority  of  the  chief  of  the  great  cave  in  Poshuli's 
Hoek.  They  for  a  long  time  maintained  their  independence, 
and  kept  the  country  round  them  clear  of  intruders.  Beyond 
this  bare  fact,  very  few  traditions  have  been  preserved  regarding 
them,  with  the  exception  of  a  disaster  which  befell  them  and  the 
story  of  the  final  annihilation  of  their  tribe. 

The  circumstances  of  the  latter  we  shall  detail  when  we  speak 
of  the  Bushman  struggle  for  existence  ;  the  former,  however, 
which  forms  a  portion  of  their  earlier  history,  occurred  at  the 
time  when  a  number  of  emigrant  Kaffirs  belonging  to  the  coast 
tribes  attempted  to  settle  in  portions  of  the  country  afterwards 
taken  possession  of  by  some  of  the  Bakuena  clans.  This  was 
about  1806-12,  when  the  latter  were  still  north  of  the  Intaba  e 
Muthlope,  or  the  Wittebergen  of  the  Orange  Free  State.  Upon 
these  Kaf&r  intruders  the  Genadeberg  Bushmen  made  a  foray. 
They  succeeded  in  capturing  a  number  of  cattle,  and  not  only 
kept  their  pursuers  at  bay,  but  beat  back  the  large  body  of 
Kaffirs  that  followed  them.     These,  finding  out  the  direction 

i88  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

the  Bushmen  were  likely  to  take,  dispatched  a  party  by  short 
footpaths  to  waylay  them  near  a  nek  on  the  farm  now  called 
Hoogeland.  Here  they  succeeded  in  concealing  themselves 
among  the  reeds  and  grass  on  either  side  of  the  pass.  The  Bush- 
men, imagining  that  in  defeating  the  body  which  had  pursued 
them  all  chance  of  further  danger  was  at  an  end,  approached  the 
spot  just  as  evening  was  closing  in,  carelessly  and  with  gleeful 
confidence  driving  their  captured  spoil  before  them.  Before 
they  were  aware  of  it,  however,  the  Kaffirs  were  upon  them, 
and  knowing  that  the  Bushmen's  arrows  were  nearly  expended 
during  the  day's  fight,  rushed  in  upon  them,  dashing  out  their 
brains  with  knobkerries  or  clubs,  before  the  latter,  who  were 
taken  completely  by  surprise,  had  time  to  make  any  defence. 
Very  few  escaped,  and  the  Kaffirs  returned  in  triumph  to  their 
kraals  with  the  recaptured  cattle. 
The  Bushmen  of  the  ^Kouwe  {the  Mountain)  or  Jammerberg. 
This  isolated  range  formed  another  of  the  great  centres 
around  which  a  considerable  number  of  Bushman  clans  con- 
gregated ;  but  as  usual,  except  the  fact  that  they  once  existed, 
and  that  traces  of  many  of  their  paintings  are  still  to  be  found 
in  its  caves  and  rock-shelters,  little  has  been  preserved  of  their 
history.  The  name  of  the  last  great  or  paramount  chief  was 
'Co-ro-ko  or  'Koroko,  the  uncle  of  'Kou'ke.  He  was  termed 
the  chief  of  the  'Kouwe,  or  the  Mountain.  There  were  secondary 
chiefs  under  him  :  Palare,  who  occupied  the  caves  in  the  ravine 
of  the  mountain  near  Ramanape's  kraals,  and  Ma'khema,  the 
chief  of  those  in  a  deep  gorge  in  the  range  towards  the  poort 
leading  to  Hermon  mission  station  ;  besides  petty  captains  or 
the  heads  of  detached  caves.  Another  powerful  Bushman  cap- 
tain, named  Ma'kla,  inhabited  the  Spitzkop  in  Basutoland, 
opposite  Leeuw  River. 

'Kou'ke  stated  that  all  the  men  of  these  tribes  were  shot 
without  mercy  by  the  different  commandos  that  came  to  attack 
them.  When  the  writer  was  trying  to  persuade  her  and  her 
husband  to  accompany  him  on  his  travels  for  a  short  time,  that 
he  might  have  an  opportunity  of  learning  more  of  their  history, 
she  said  :  "  Do  you  see  where  the  mountain  comes  down  to  the 
river  ?  "  pointing  to  where  its  steep  shoulder  formed  the  left 
bank  of  the  Caledon,  in  the  Jammerberg  Poort.     "  There,"  she 


continued,  "  were  all  the  best  of  our  tribe  shot  down  ;  there  all 
our  brave  men's  bones  were  left  in  a  heap  :  my  captain's,  my 
brothers',  and  those  of  every  friend  that  I  had.  Do  you  think 
I  could  live  in  the  land  of  the  men  who  did  me  that  evil  ?  No  ! 
not  for  a  single  night  would  I  sleep  on  their  accursed  ground  !  " 
Her  reasons  were  unanswerable.  She  departed,  and  the  oppor- 
tunity to  obtain  their  unrecorded  history  was  lost. 

The  Bushmen  of  Makwatling  or  Koranaberg. 

This  grand  old  mountain  with  its  table-topped  precipitous 
crown,  its  steep  and  rocky  gorges,  afforded  a  home  and  secure 
retreat  for  a  powerful  group  of  tribes  for  unknown  generations  ; 
yet,  notwithstanding  this  acknowledged  fact,  the  writer  when 
visiting  the  locality  was  unable  to  learn  the  name  of  a  single 
one  of  their  great  chiefs.  They  were  still,  however,  very  numer- 
ous, and  held  possession  of  their  caves  up  to  the  time  of  the  last 
Free  State  and  Basutu  war.  At  that  time  they  were  attacked 
by  a  commando  under  Commandants  Fick  and  Dreyer,  and 
although  rifles,  hand-grenades,  and  cannon  were  employed 
against  them, — the  marks  of  bullets  and  cannon  shot  are  still  to  be 
seen  round  some  of  their  shelters,  attesting  the  vigour  with  which 
the  siege  was  prosecuted, — they  were  able  to  keep  their  enemies  at 
bay,  and  forced  them  to  retire  without  dislodging  them  from 
their  strongholds  in  the  mountain.  The  besiegers,  however, 
succeeded  in  killing  a  number  of  Bushmen  who  held  advanced 
positions,  although  they  defended  themselves  with  desperation 
to  the  very  last. 

During  these  operations  an  incident  occurred,  which  was 
related  to  the  writer  by  a  Korana  who  was  an  eye-witness  of 
it,  and  which  illustrates  in  a  marked  manner  the  intrepid  daring 
so  frequently  displayed  by  men  of  the  Bushman  race.  A  large 
patrol  had  just  returned  to  camp.  It  was  towards  evening,  and 
having  knee-haltered  their  horses,  they  turned  them  out  to  graze 
in  the  neighbourhood,  at  about  one  hundred  yards  distance. 
Here,  without  the  least  indication  of  his  presence,  a  solitary 
Bushman  was  lying  concealed  among  the  long  grass,  over  which 
but  a  few  minutes  before  the  patrol  must  have  ridden,  but  where 
he  had  well  hidden  himself  beneath  the  spreading  tuft  with  which 
he  had  disguised  himself.     He  had  evidently  placed  himself  there 

igo  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

to  spy  out  the  position  and  movements  of  the  people  in  the  camp. 
Without  being  noticed,  he  worked  himself  among  the  horses, 
and  after  selecting  one,  fastened  a  thong  of  leather  round  one  of 
its  fore  legs,  and  then  by  slowly  moving  along  on  his  belly,  he 
gradually  led  it  off  some  short  distance  from  the  others,  hoping 
by  this  means  to  get  it  sufficiently  far  to  be  able  to  mount  it 
with  impunity.  After  a  time  the  owner  of  the  horse,  seeing  what 
appeared  to  him  to  be  his  horse  straying  away,  ran  after  it  to 
turn  it,  shouting  to  it  as  he  ran.  The  horse,  now  becoming 
alarmed,  struggled  to  free  himself  ;  but  the  Bushman,  still  con- 
cealed, held  on  with  a  tenacious  grip.  The  horse's  terror  in- 
creased, and  struggling  more  fiercely,  he  sprang  round  and  round, 
plunging  and  snorting,  until  at  last  with  a  more  desperate  effort 
than  before  he  reared  over,  and  with  the  sudden  jerk  swung  the 
persistent  Bushman  into  the  air  at  the  end  of  the  thong, 
while  the  pursuing  Boer  was  astonished  at  the  apparition  of  a 
great  tuft  of  grass  with  the  arms,  body,  and  legs  of  a  Bushman 
attached,  flying  round  as  if  in  an  infernal  waltz  with  the 
maddened  horse. 

Seeing  at  last  all  chance  of  success  had  gone,  the  Bushman 
relinquished  his  hold,  with  a  bound  sped  away  like  a  racer,  and 
before  any  alarm  could  be  given  placed  a  safer  distance  between 
himself  and  the  camp  of  his  enemies.  Before  disappearing,  he 
turned  to  give  a  last  look  at  those  who  were  now  in  pursuit  of 
him,  and  with  upraised  hand  and  bitter  voice  he  cursed  them  as 
the  destroyers  and  ruin  of  his  country. 

Upon  the  retreat  of  the  commando,  the  Bushmen,  after  their 
dauntless  resistance  to  the  fearful  odds  brought  against  them, 
determined  to  abandon  for  ever  the  time-honoured  strongholds 
of  their  forefathers.  They  evacuated  them  in  a  body,  and  with- 
drew unobserved  and  safely  to  the  most  rugged  parts  of  the 
Malutis.  Here  some  years  afterwards  they  were  again  attacked, 
but  on  this  occasion  by  the  Baputi,  under  their  chief  Mogorosi, 
or  as  he  was  afterwards  called,  Morosi,  and  in  the  conflicts  which 
ensued  the  tribe  was  annihilated.  Most  of  the  men  were  either 
shot  or  assagaied,  whilst  all  the  women  and  girls  were  made 
captive  and  became  the  wives  or  concubines  of  the  victors. 


The  Bushmen  of  Di-tse-thlong  or  Platberg  on  the  Caledon. 

These  mountains  seem  to  have  formed  a  species  of  nucleus, 
around  which  a  number  of  Bushman  clans  congregated,  over 
whom  one  chief  was  acknowledged  as  paramount,  although  the 
subsidiary  captains  exercised  a  large  amount  of  independent 
authority  over  their  respective  hordes.  Upon  all  occasions 
affecting  the  common  weal,  or  in  times  of  public  danger,  they  at 
once  acted  in  union,  submitting  to  the  command  of  the  great 
chief  of  the  mountain.  The  head  or  palace-cave  of  the  Di-tse- 
thlong  Bushmen  was  the  great  cavern  among  the  domed  rocks 
of  the  mountain  opposite  Tennant's  Kop.  Its  walls  were  at  one 
time  covered  with  paintings,  depicting  the  history  of  the 
aboriginal  inhabitants  of  the  mountain,  their  manners,  and 
customs ;  but  these,  alas  !  have  now  been  destroyed  by  the 
goats  and  cattle  of  the  Basutu  and  the  Boers,  who  have 
turned  the  ancestral  abode  of  the  Bushmen  into  a  cattle  and 
sheep  kraal. 

The  name  of  the  last  great  Bushman  captain  of  the  moun- 
tain, who  lived  in  this  cave,  was  'Kabasisi.  The  informant  of 
the  writer  was  a  half-caste  Mosutu  belonging  to  the  clan  of  the 
petty  Basutu  captain  Ramanape.  He  stated  that  his  grand- 
father, whose  name  was  Rama'kale,  was  a  solitary  fugitive  who 
sought  refuge  among  these  Bushmen  long  before  any  of  the  other 
Basutu  were  in  this  part  of  the  country.  'Kabasisi  not  only  gave 
him  shelter,  but  also  SHe'gou,  his  daughter,  to  wife.  Rama'kale 
lived  under  this  captain  all  his  life,  and  all  his  children,  among 
whom  was  the  father  of  the  narrator,  were  born  in  this  cave. 
This  was  long  before  Moshesh's  time,  and  when  Bushmen  alone 
occupied  all  the  land.  The  Bushman  chief  was  very  old  at  the 
time,  and  died  a  few  years  afterwards  in  a  small  cave  in  a  neigh- 
bouring ravine.  Many  years  after  this,  long  after  his  father  had 
grown  up  to  manhood,  and  these  Bushmen  had  acquired  a  few 
cattle,  they  were  attacked  by  Moselekatze's  people,  when  some 
of  the  inhabitants  of  the  cave  fell  under  the  assagais  of  the  in- 
vaders, and  the  remainder  fled  towards  Kopje  AUeen,  in  the 
great  central  plains  towards  the  'Gij  'Gariep  or  Vaal,  where  his 
grandfather  died.  His  father  afterwards  returned  to  the  old 
cave,  and  he  and  several  other  children  were  born  there.     Here 

192  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

they  all  remained  in  right  of  their  father's  descent  until  they  were 
driven  out  by  the  Boers  in  the  last  Basutu  war. 

'Koroklou  was  the  last  great  chief  of  the  Bushmen  of  the 
Middle  Veld,  near  Kopje  Alleen.  After  many  of  them  had  been 
shot  and  their  children  seized  and  sold  to  the  Boers  as  slaves, 
and  the  Boers  themselves  began  to  take  possession  of  the  land, 
he  left  the  open  country  and  sought  refuge  in  the  Jammerberg, 
where  he  was  captured  by  the  last  commando  sent  against  the 
Bushmen  of  the  'Kouwe,  and  carried  to  Bloemfontein,  where  he 
was  kept  as  a  kind  of  state  prisoner  on  parole,  and  was  still  living 
there  in  1877. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  'Koesberg. 

Traces  of  Bushman  occupation  are  to  be  found  on  every  side 
of  this  extensive  mountain  and  its  outlying  branches.  Several 
large  caves  and  rock-shelters,  such  as  those  of  Tienfontein  Nek 
to  the  east,  Knecht's  Kloof  on  the  south,  and  Brakfontein  on  the 
west,  are  illustrations  of  this.  There  were  also  several  important 
caves  under  the  precipices  of  the  neighbouring  Matlakeng,  Mool- 
man's  Hoek,  and  other  places,  showing  that  at  one  time  the 
whole  of  this  part  of  the  country  was  densely  populated  with 
Bushmen.  Some  of  the  great  caves  were  adorned  with  innumer- 
able paintings,  of  which  a  number  were  of  remarkable  excel- 
lence, showing  that  the  captains  or  chiefs  to  whom  they  belonged 
were  men  of  considerable  rank  and  importance.  The  banks  of 
every  watercourse  and  pool  in  the  surrounding  country  were 
fringed  with  pitfalls.  This  was  especially  the  case  in  Deve- 
naar's  Spruit,  where  the  remains  of  them  are  still  to  be  seen. 

No  record  has  been  preserved  of  any  paramount  chief  who 
asserted  sway  over  the  entire  district,  and  from  the  evidence  ol 
the  caves  it  would  appear  not  improbable  that  there  were  several 
great  chiefs  ruling  over  groups  of  clans  in  different  parts  of  it. 
One  of  these  was  the  head  of  the  clan  which  inhabited  the  rock- 
shelter  on  Tienfontein  Nek,  before  they  were  driven  to  seek  a 
securer  shelter  in  the  more  rugged  and  nearly  inaccessible  fast- 
nesses of  the  mountain.  This  chief,  on  account  of  his  deter- 
mined daring,  was  known  among  the  Dutch  squatters  by  the 
name  of  Kwaai  Stuurman.  Little  else  has  been  preserved  of 
his  career.    Several  of  the  fertile  valleys  surrounding  the  moun- 


tain  were  seized  upon  by  some  emigrant  Amaxosa  Kaffirs, 
while  fugitives  from  the  north,  of  Basutu  origin,  appropriated 
others  in  the  same  unceremonious  manner.  Hence  the  seeds  of 
discord  were  thickly  sown  around  the  ancient  abodes  of  the 
primitive  inhabitants.  These  rival  races  lived  in  a  state  of  con- 
tinual hostility  ;  stragglers  and  wayfarers  were  waylaid,  robbed, 
and  murdered. 

During  the  early  days  of  this  Kaffir  intrusion  into  the  Bush- 
man hunting  grounds,  a  constant  series  of  skirmishing  and  fight- 
ing, of  robbery  and  murder,  went  on,  not  only  with  the  Bushmen, 
the  original  inhabitants  of  the  mountain,  but  between  the  petty 
robber  chiefs  who  had  located  themselves  in  its  vicinity.     The 
law  of  might  was  the  law  of  right,  and  no  one  retained  his  pro- 
perty longer  than  he  had  the  power  of  defending  it  successfully. 
Any  imhappy  native,  not  allied  to  one  or  other  of  the  swarthy 
bandits,  who  had  the  misfortune  to  possess  a  small  herd  of  cattle, 
was  sure  sooner  or  later  to  faU  a  victim  to  the  lawless  rapine  and 
violence  that  was  rampant  throughout  the  country.     As  an  ex- 
ample of  this,  a  fugitive  Fingo,  who  obtained  the  name  of  Knecht, 
established  his  kraal,  by  permission  of  the  Bushman  captain  of 
the  great  cave  in  the  precipitous  glen  of  Knecht's  Kloof — the 
cave  of  the  White  Hippopotamus — near  the  mouth  of  the  ravine. 
He  had  not  been  long  there,  however,  before  he  found  his  huts 
set  on  fire  in  the  night  and  his  cattle  driven  off  by  a  party  of 
these  marauders,  who,  not  satisfied  with  this,  massacred  the 
unfortunate  Knecht  and  all  his  family  in  cold  blood,  as  they 
attempted  to  escape,  or  threw  them  back  into  the  flames  to  meet 
an  equally  terrible  death.     In  the  morning,  when  day  broke, 
pools  of  blood  and  the  charred  ruins  of  the  dwellings  alone  re- 
mained to  mark  the  spot,  and  thus  it  was  that  the  locality 
obtained  the  name  of  Knecht's  Kloof. 

Besides  these  there  were  several  other  Bushman  tribes, 
such  as  those  of  the  Mogokare  and  Bushmansberg,  but,  although 
almost  every  rock  shelter  contains  the  remains  of  their  paintings, 
proving  how  numerous  they  must  once  have  been,  nothing  has 
been  preserved  of  their  history  except  that  most  of  them  were 
shot  down  by  the  sons  and  grandsons  of  the  men  who  were  so 
active  in  the  extermination  of  the  Bushman  hordes  of  the  Karoo, 
the  Tooverberg,  and  the  Northern  Plains. 


The  Bushmen  of  the  Upper  Modder  River  and  Rhenoster  Spruit. 

At  one  time  a  powerful  tribe  inhabited  the  ridges  above  the 
junction  of  these  streams,  near  a  place  called  Keerom.  These 
Bushmen  made  a  raid  upon  some  of  the  Batlapin  who  had 
migrated  towards  the  Vaal  river.  The  latter  determined  not 
only  to  recapture  the  cattle,  but  to  revenge  themselves  by  follow- 
ing up  and  destroying  the  entire  horde  that  had  robbed  them- 
A  large  party  sent  in  pursuit  of  the  Bushmen  for  this  purpose 
arrived  at  the  ravine  in  which  their  stronghold  was  situated- 
The  Bushmen,  however,  were  prepared  for  them.  A  few  of  these 
wily  hunters,  intended  as  a  decoy,  took  up  a  conspicuous  position 
at  the  head  of  it  with  some  of  the  cattle  ;  the  main  body,  how- 
ever, had  in  the  meantime  thickly  lined  the  rocks  on  either  side 
of  the  gorge,  where  they  were  entirely  hidden  from  the  view  of 
the  advancing  Kaffirs,  while  another  strong  party  concealed 
themselves  in  the  long  grass  around  the  mouth  of  the  vaUey, 
and  closed  up  its  entrance  as  soon  as  the  unsuspecting  Kaffirs 
were  sufficiently  within  the  toils  which  had  been  laid  for  them. 

It  was  not  until  they  were  well  entangled  in  this  cul-de-sac 
that  they  discovered,  when  too  late,  the  manner  in  which  they 
were  entrapped.  Assailed  by  flights  of  arrows  from  every  side, 
in  flank,  in  front,  and  rear,  a  panic  seized  them  ;  they  made  no 
attempt  at  defence  or  resistance,  but  merely  in  desperation  cut 
away  pieces  of  flesh  from  their  bodies  wherever  the  poisoned 
barbs  fixed  themselves.  There  was  scarcely  one  of  them  who 
was  not  hit  in  several  places,  and  many  bled  quickly  to  death 
from  the  ghastly  wounds  they  thus  inflicted  upon  themselves. 
Only  one  or  two  of  the  entire  party  managed  to  burst  through 
the  encircling  lines  unscathed  ;  all  the  rest  perished  in  the  fatal 
glen.  This  desperate  affair  was  remembered  by  the  Bushmen 
as  "  the  Battle  of  Blood,"  from  the  frightful  quantity  that  was 
shed  by  the  self  immolation  of  their  panic-stricken  enemies. 
The  informant  of  the  writer  was  a  youth  at  the  time,  and  was 
within  a  mile  or  two  of  the  spot  when  it  occurred. 

When  first  examining  some  of  the  Bushman  paintings  repre- 
senting battle  scenes  between  themselves  and  Kaffirs  who  had 
invaded  their  country,  the  quantity  of  blood  flowing  from  the 
wounds  appeared  somewhat  exaggerated  ;  but  this  the  writer 


discovered  from  facts  similar  to  that  just  related,  was  not  the 
case,  as  it  appears  from  all  native  evidence  that  the  Kaffirs  and 
Basutu  in  their  encounters  with  the  Bushmen  were  almost  uni- 
versally in  the  habit  of  excising  the  piece  of  flesh  containing  the 
poisoned  barb  of  the  arrow,  cutting  through  without  hesitation 
any  vessels  or  sinews  in  the  neighbourhood  of  the  wound  ;  and 
thus  numbers,  in  the  desperate  hope  of  saving  their  lives,  inflicted 
such  terrible  wounds  upon  themselves  that  they  bled  to  death 
before  any  effort  could  be  made  to  stanch  it.  Thus  it  was  that 
whenever  any  combat  took  place,  numbers  of  the  Kaf&r  warriors 
were  seen  covered  with  streams  of  their  own  blood,  while  great 
pools  of  it  were  found  every  here  and  there  saturating  the  ground, 
thus  also  proving  that  the  observant  Bushman  artists  were  in 
this  respect,  as  in  many  others,  true  to  nature. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Washbank  and  Wittebergen,  Cape  Colony. 

Many  caves  are  to  be  found  in  this  mountainous  region, 
several  of  them  of  immense  size.  In  some  of  these  the  large 
amount  of  rock  surface  adapted  for  painting  enabled  the  native 
artists  to  revel  in  the  exhibition  of  their  talent.  Thousands  of 
groups  once  adorned  their  walls,  which  have  been  since  their 
expulsion  wantonly  defaced  by  the  so-called  civilized  intruders, 
There  is  every  evidence  that  at  one  time  densely  populated 
centres  were  sprinkled  through  the  whole  of  these  mountain 
glens,  where,  whilst  the  tribes  remained  in  their  undisturbed 
state,  both  game  and  fish  abounded.  This  was  notably  the  case 
in  the  valleys  of  the  Washbank,  along  the  tortuous  and  precipi- 
tous course  of  the  Kraai  river  and  its  branches,  in  New  England 
and  the  present  district  of  Herschel. 

But  if  the  extent  and  number  of  the  caves  and  paintings  con- 
tained in  them  make  known  the  numerous  clans  which  once 
occupied  these  picturesque  glens,  and  the  surprising  degree  of 
excellence  at  which  some  of  their  leading  artists  arrived,  so  also 
do  these  spots  proclaim  in  an  equally  unmistakable  manner  the 
tragic  fate  which  befell  their  former  inhabitants  ;  they  tell  us 
but  too  plainly  of  the  infernal  storm  of  lead  which  was  poured  in 
upon  them  by  their  vindictive  and  remorseless  pursuers. 

The  sides  of  the  great  cave  of  the  White  Rhinoceros  and 
Serpent,  in  a  rocky  ravine  on  the  right  bank  of  the  Washbank 

196  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

Spruit,  are  so  thickly  bespattered  with  hundreds  of  the  bullet 
marks  of  their  assailants,  that  one  could  almost  write  an  account 
of  its  siege  and  point  out  where  in  their  desperate  struggle  the 
intrepid  defenders  were  forced  back  from  point  to  point,  where 
they  from  time  to  time  turned  at  bay  in  their  attempts  to  keep 
back  their  enemies,  and  where,  behind  a  great  heap  of  piled 
rocks  at  the  end  of  the  cave,  they  turned  for  the  last  time,  over- 
powered but  unsubdued,  and  resolutely  continued  the  conflict 
until  the  shout  and  the  turmoil  closed  with  the  final  discharge 
of  the  echoing  musketry,  in  the  silence  of  death. 

It  was  considered  that  when  a  Boer  or  Mosutu,  armed  only 
with  the  old-fashioned  flint  firelock,  met  a  Bushman  in  single 
combat,  his  chance  of  success,  or  even  of  escape,  was  not  very 
great.  In  such  a  case  there  was  no  possibility  of  obtaining  a 
steady  aim,  as  the  Bushman  always  kept  in  a  state  of  rapid 
movement,  jumping  and  springing  from  side  to  side,  now  here, 
now  there,  in  a  most  uncertain  manner,  but  always  advancing, 
and  as  soon  as  a  baU  was  fired  at  him,  knowing  that  his  oppo- 
nent's gun  was  empty,  he  ran  in  upon  him  and  shot  him,  almost 
at  close  quarters.  One  Boer,  however,  is  said  to  have  possessed 
such  coolness  that  when  he  found  himself  face  to  face  with  a 
Bushman,  he  drew  his  ramrod,  and  with  surprising  dexterity 
was  able  to  parry  every  shaft  that  was  sent  at  him,  until  he  came 
within  a  few  paces,  when  no  chance  of  a  mis-shot  could  exist. 

In  the  attacks  of  the  Boer  commandos  upon  the  Bushman 
caves,  some  of  the  most  daring  of  the  invading  force  would  ad- 
vance upon  the  stronghold,  under  cover  of  rudely  extemporized 
shields,  such  as  a  few  thick  branches  plaited  together,  or  one 
of  their  great  duffel  coats,  such  as  were  then  in  fashion  with 
them,  or  else  a  closely  woven  Kaffir  mat. 

Their  mode  of  attack  used  to  be  as  follows  :  three  or  four  of 
their  best  marksmen  were  told  off,  who  took  up  the  most  com- 
manding position  they  could  obtain,  in  order  to  cover  the  ad- 
vance of  the  storming  party,  when  the  greater  part  of  the  force 
kept  up  a  continuous  fire  from  a  more  respectful  distance.  Thick 
branches  were  obtained,  where  available,  and  plaited  in  such  a 
way  that  the  arrows  became  entangled  in  them  or  glanced  off ; 
when  these  were  not  to  be  had,  their  great  duffel  coats  were 
stretched  on  two  cross  sticks,  one  of  which  was  thrust  through 


the  sleeves,  thus  keeping  them  extended  as  widely  as  possible  ; 
arrows  striking  these  would  drive  their  points  into  the  thick 
material  of  which  they  were  composed,  and  then  hang  harm- 
lessly. Such  a  shield,  which  gave  shelter  to  a  couple  of  men, 
would  frequently  be  struck  twenty  or  thirty  times  during  the 
advance.  Where  Kaffir  mats  were  employed,  a  large  one  was 
extended  upon  sticks,  and  carried  carefully  forward,  while  several 
marksmen  advanced  under  the  cover.  In  this  case,  owing  to 
the  pliancy  of  the  rushes  of  which  the  mat  was  made,  most  of 
the  arrows  rebounded  on  the  outer  side  ;  a  few  would  occa- 
sionally penetrate  the  shield,  but  it  was  a  rare  occurrence  that 
one  burst  through  with  sufficient  force  to  do  any  harm. 

An  advance  of  this  kind,  over  the  rugged  ground  that  had 
generally  to  be  traversed,  was  one  which  was  not  only  made  with 
great  caution,  but  considerable  slowness  also.  In  the  meantime, 
when  any  of  the  Bushmen  exposed  themselves  too  much  in  taking 
aim  at  their  advancing  enemies,  they  generally  feU  under  the 
bullets  of  those  who  had  been  told  off  for  the  express  purpose. 
But  even  with  all  their  precaution,  the  attack  sometimes  ended 
in  the  confusion  and  flight  of  the  Boers.  When  successful,  how- 
ever, the  slow  advance  continued  until  the  Bushmen's  arrows 
were  expended ;  then,  when  they  were  no  longer  able  to  defend 
themselves  for  want  of  weapons,  a  rush  was  made,  and  they  were 
shot  down  indiscriminately,  some  of  the  women  and  children 
occasionally  escaping  or  being  made  captives. 

Chapter  XI 



Under  this  title  we  shall  notice  the  groups  along  the  more 
northern  portion  of  the  eastern  frontier,  of  which  any  recollec- 
tion has  been  preserved.  We  have  already  mentioned  those  of 
the  Bamboesberg  and  the  Tarka  and  the  old  Tambuki  tribe  of 
Bushmen  which  once  occupied  the  valley  of  the  Tsomo  and  the 
land  farther  to  the  eastward  ;  those  of  the  Great  Winterberg 
and  the  Konap  we  shall  have  occasion  to  treat  of  in  a  later 
portion  of  our  investigation.  Most  of  the  names  of  the  great 
captains  of  these  tribes,  who  were  certainly  the  patriotic  de- 
fenders of  their  country,  have  long  since  been  lost  sight  of.  Even 
in  the  traditions  which  have  survived  of  a  few,  most  of  them  are 
known  only  by  the  names  given  to  them  by  the  Boers,  and  the 
writer  could  only  discover  two  or  three  whose  native  names  have 
been  preserved. 

One  of  the  former  class  was  Lynx,  the  chief  of  the  Bamboes- 
berg. Another  was  Koegel-man,  alias  Koegel-been,  who  had 
his  headquarters  among  the  rocky  ledges  of  a  hill  in  the  Queens- 
town  district,  now  named  Koegel-been's  Kop  after  him  ;  and  it 
was  in  defending  this  stronghold  that  he  received  the  wound — a 
bullet  lodging  in  his  leg,  from  which  it  could  not  be  extracted — 
which  gave  him  the  name  he  subsequently  bore.  Little  is  now 
known  of  him,  except  that  he  offered  a  desperate  resistance  to 
the  Abatembu  and  Boers  who  invaded  his  country. 

Another  captain  who  rendered  himself  conspicuous  was  called 
Windvogel.  He  was  chief  of  the  Bushmen  around  the  mountain 
which  was  named  Windvogelberg  after  him,  in  the  same  district. 
His  territory  extended  from  the  Wa'cu,  or  Wa-'ku,  to  the  Thorn 
river  on  the  Bontebok  flats. 


Of  the  numerous  and  powerful  tribes  which  once  inhabited 
the  Stormberg  and  neighbouring  ranges,  the  writer  was  not  able 
to  discover  the  trace  of  a  single  name  having  survived,  although 
in  their  day  they  were  as  determined  and  daring  in  their  resist- 
ance to  the  encroachments  of  the  stronger  races  as  their  co-patriots 
who  were  spread  over  the  territory  now  forming  the  Free  State 
and  the  basin  of  the  Orange  river  and  its  tributaries,  with  regard 
to  whom  a  number  of  traditions  might  be  obtained,  could  some 
of  the  ancient  survivors  be  questioned  upon  the  subject. 

Mada'kane,  one  whose  native  name  has  escaped  oblivion, 
was  chief  of  the  Bushman  tribe  inhabiting  the  country  from  the 
Zwart  Kei  Poort  below  Tylden  to  the  Gwatyu  and  Indwe,  and 
along  the  valley  of  the  'Neiba,  or  Lower  Zwart  Kei,  to  a  little 
below  its  junction  with  the  'Ca'cadu  or  White  Kei.  This  and  the 
one  under  Madura,  of  which  we  shall  speak  presently,  were  con- 
sidered to  be,  at  one  time,  the  most  powerful  tribes  in  this  part 
of  South  Africa.  The  last  retreat  and  stronghold  of  Mada'kane 
was  in  an  almost  inaccessible  glen,  still  bearing  his  name,  about 
the  junction  of  the  two  Keis.  The  surrounding  country  is  of  the 
most  difficult  character.  One  footpath  leading  to  it,  along  which 
the  writer  rode  when  he  visited  the  spot  in  1869,  was  along  a  kind 
of  elevated  backbone,  nearly  half  a  mile  long  and  from  one 
hundred  and  fifty  to  two  hundred  yards  in  width,  above  a  preci- 
pice of  some  five  hundred  feet  on  the  one  hand,  while  one,  of  at 
least  eight  hundred  feet,  with  the  'Neiba  rushing  over  the  rocks 
at  its  foot,  was  on  the  other. 

An  old  brother  of  Mada'kane,  with  two  of  his  wives  and  their 
children,  and  one  or  two  followers,  still  hid  themselves  among  the 
precipices,  and  although  several  messengers  were  sent  to  them, 
nothing  would  induce  the  old  man  to  grant  the  visitor  an  inter- 
view. One  of  his  excuses  was  that  if  he  did  so,  the  man  in  the 
leather  jacket  (the  writer),  who  visited  aU  their  houses  and  copied 
their  paintings,  would  be  asking  him  questions,  when  the  ques- 
tioner would  become  as  wise  as  himself.  The  resident  Kaffirs  of 
these  deep  glens  were,  to  add  to  the  difficulties  of  the  journey, 
angry  with  the  writer's  Kaffir  guides  for  bringing  a  white  man  to 
examine  the  secret  recesses  of  their  fastnesses,  which  they  termed 
their  hidden  war-paths,  that  during  the  wars  of  1835,  1846,  and 
1850  had  afforded  a  secure  retreat  for  all  their  women,  children, 

200  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

and  captured  cattle,  and  that  no  colonial  force  had  ever  attempted 
to  enter,  declaring  that  the  writer  was  the  first  European  who  had 
ventured  to  penetrate  so  far  into  this  mysterious  region. 

Every  obstacle  was  thrown  in  the  way  of  the  exploring  party, 
almost  impassable  roads  were  pointed  out  to  them.  They  had 
to  camp  out  under  a  rock-shelter,  the  sides  of  which  were  barri- 
caded with  fallen  trees,  and  lest  the  horses  should  be  seized  in 
the  night  by  the  irate  natives,  who  had  threatened  to  dismount 
the  unwelcome  intruders,  they  were  securely  fastened.  Two 
great  fires  were  made  in  front,  and  with  the  aid  of  a  watchful  and 
faithful  dog,  which  had  fortunately  accompanied  them,  they 
passed  the  night  without  further  molestation,  although  the  loud 
voices  of  the  Kaffirs  in  a  kraal,  about  a  quarter  of  a  mile  distant, 
were  heard  the  greater  part  of  it.  Early  the  next  morning  they 
were  again  in  the  saddle,  and  after  climbing,  and  occasionally 
driving  the  horses  in  front  of  them  for  several  hours,  they  arrived 
at  Mada'kane's  last  retreat.  Here  he  died,  amid  his  native  rocky 
glens,  but  whether  of  wounds  or  of  old  age,  as  he  must  have  been 
a  very  old  man  at  the  time,  the  writer  was  not  able  to  learn. 

His  brother  'Gcu-wa,  the  old  Bushman  already  mentioned, 
was  the  painter  of  the  family,  and  in  1869  still  carried  two  or 
three  of  his  horn  paint-pots  swung  at  his  belt.  He  was  the  artist 
who  painted  the  representation  of  a  Boer  commando,  which 
adorned  the  wall  of  his  brother's  rock-shelter,  and  it  was  said 
that  it  was  intended  to  commemorate  the  first  attack  the  Boers 
ever  made  upon  their  tribe. 

The  palace  cave  of  the  Python,  on  the  bank  of  the  'Neiba, 
belonged  to  a  minor  chief  named  Madolo,  who  acknowledged  the 
supremacy  of  Mada'kane.  Madolo  was  a  name  given  to  this 
chief  by  the  invading  Kaffirs,  and  signified  Knees.  Up  to  the 
last  days  of  the  undisturbed  rule  of  the  Bushmen,  all  the  deep 
pools  of  the  surrounding  rivers  swarmed  with  hippopotami.  The 
Kaffirs  not  only  drove  out  the  greater  number  of  the  Bushmen 
from  the  more  open  country,  but  soon  exterminated  the  great 
pachyderms  which  had  lived  in  the  rivers.  The  last  hippopo- 
tamus of  the  'Neiba  was  killed  in  the  large  pool  opposite  Madolo's 
cave.  The  once  powerful  and  formidable  tribe  of  Mada'kane, 
attacked  on  the  one  hand  by  the  intruding  Abatembu  and 
Amaxosa  Kaffirs,  and  subsequently  by  Boer  commandos  on  the 


other,  was  at  last  reduced  to  a  miserable  remnant,  consisting  of 
the  old  man  'Gcu-wa,  the  brother  of  Mada'kane,  a  younger  man, 
a  nephew  of  the  same  chief,  three  women,  and  about  five  little 
children.  These  unfortunates  never  ventured  into  the  open 
country,  but  always  remained  in  the  wildest  parts  of  the  river 
valleys,  migrating  from  spot  to  spot,  according  to  the  seasons, 
sustaining  a  precarious  subsistence  Ijy  eel-fishing,  digging  roots, 
and  obtaining  honey  from  the  various  krantz  nests,  inaccessible 
to  any  men  less  nimble  than  themselves. 

Even  after  they  had  been  conquered  and  nearly  destroyed 
by  the  intruding  Kaffirs,  the  survivors  looked  upon  these  rock 
nests  as  their  peculiar  and  rightful  property,  and  not  only 
jealously  guarded  any  interference  with  them,  but  promptly 
revenged  themselves  upon  the  kraals  of  those  who  were  suspected 
of  tampering  with  their  contents.  So  certain  was  retaliation  to 
follow  any  such  misdemeanour  that  the  Kaffirs  at  last  looked 
upon  these  nests  with  considerable  dread,  and  would  neither 
touch  them  themselves  nor  allow  any  one  else  to  do  so  upon  any 
pretext  whatever. 

Madura,  or  Madoor  as  he  was  styled  by  the  colonists,  to  whom 
we  have  before  alluded,  was  the  chief  of  the  second  powerful 
tribe  living  on  this  portion  of  the  border.  He  was  the  great  chief 
of  the  Bushman  clans  in  the  country  around  the  Klipplaats  and 
Upper  Zwart  Kei  rivers.  His  great  cave  was  originally  a  few 
miles  from  the  present  village  of  Whittlesea,  in  the  Division  of 
Queenstown.  Here  he  was  living  when  he  was  visited  by  Dr. 
Van  der  Kemp  ;  and  there  was  at  one  time  a  painting  in  it,  which 
Madura  used  to  state  was  the  likeness  of  this  zealous  but  eccentric 
missionary.  It  had  the  figure  of  a  'Nadro  close  behind  it,  looking 
very  much  like  the  mediaeval  conception  of  the  devil,  which  made 
some  of  the  colonists  believe  that  Madura's  artist  had  attempted 
to  depict  not  only  the  worthy  missionary,  but  also  the  evil  being 
whom  he  had  attempted  to  introduce  to  their  notice. 

About  the  time  of,  or  shortly  after,  the  Kaffir  war  of  1835 
he  retired  from  the  more  immediate  border,  and  located  himself 
near  the  spot  afterwards  called  Bushman  school,  near  Glen  Grey, 
in  the  same  division.  Here,  about  1839,  a  mission  was  established, 
and  hence  the  name  of  Bushman  school.  When  visited  by  Mr. 
Backhouse,  he  said  that  he   had  been  brought   up   among  the 

202  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

mountains,  that  he  had  not  seen  his  mother  for  a  long  time, 
although  he  hoped  that  she  was  still  living,  if  she  had  not  been 
devoured  by  the  great  serpent,  or  by  the  tigers  of  the  mountains. 
That  the  reptile  to  which  Madura  alluded  was  not  a  mythical 
idea  of  the  native  mind  is  certain,  and  it  is  equally  certain  that  at 
no  distant  period  pythons  of  considerable  size^  were  not  uncommon 
in  the  valley  of  the  'Neiba,  or  Zwart  Kei,  as  is  proved  not  only  by 
the  traditions  of  the  natives  respecting  them,  but  by  the  accurate 
Bushman  drawing  in  the  cave  of  the  Python  ;  and  as  a  coincidence 
there  is  a  representation  of  this  great  serpent,  some  seven  feet 
long,  in  one  of  Madura's  rock-shelters  on  the  Klipplaats. 

The  great  serpent  spoken  of  by  the  natives  of  South  Africa 
is  supposed  by  some  to  have  been  extinct  in  the  Cape  Colony  for 
a  long  period,  but  thirty  or  forty  years  ago  the  Kaffirs  declared 
that  it  was  then  to  be  met  with  in  some  of  the  rocky  and  woody 
glens  towards  the  coast,  and  in  1849  ^^e  writer  himself  saw  one 
some  seven  or  eight  miles  from  Grahamstown,  near  Broekhuisen's 
Poort,  which  was  from  fifteen  to  eighteen  feet  in  length,  and  much 
thicker  than  a  man's  arm.  There  are  several  other  well-authen- 
ticated instances  of  this  reptile  having  been  met  with  since  1820, 
the  date  of  the  arrival  of  the  British  settlers.  Not  only  had  the 
Kaffirs  of  the  coast  tribes  a  superstitious  reverence  for  it,  allowing 
no  one  to  kill  it  under  pain  of  death,  but  some  of  the  old 
Hottentots  also  imagined  that  it  possessed  miraculous  and  magic 

In  1849  Madura's  station  consisted  of  a  few  huts  and  a  small 
chapel.  In  the  war  of  1846  he  took  part  with  the  government 
against  the  Abatembu  and  Amaxosa  Kaffirs.  In  1849  he  had 
still  about  three  hundred  men  under  his  jurisdiction,  including 
Bushmen,  Hottentots,  Fingos,  and  several  others  who  had  fled 
to  him  for  an  asylum  from  adjacent  tribes,  on  account  of  charges 
of  witchcraft  brought  against  them  by  their  own  people.  There 
were  still  occasional  invasions  and  occupations  of  his  country  by 
the  tribes  in  his  vicinity,  for  the  sake  of  the  grass  and  water  found 
there.  He  then  appeared  to  be  about  sixty  years  of  age,  and 
would  consequently  have  been  born  about  1789.  His  people  all 
cut  off  the  first  joint  of  the  third  finger  of  the  right  hand. 

The  regulations  enforced  upon  this  chief  certainly  tended, 
in  no  inconsiderable  degree,  to  accelerate  the  extinction  of  his 


tribe,  and  to  prevent,  by  the  imposition  of  a  most  unreasonable 
impost,  any  chance  of  their  improvement. 

His  country  was  proclaimed  to  be  within  the  bounds  of  the 
Cape  Colony.  He  pleaded  that  the  land  belonged  to  his  fore- 
fathers, and  that  the  Tembus  were  intruders  who  had  forcibly 
taken  possession  of  a  large  portion  of  it.  His  remonstrances  were 
unavailing,  his  country  was  absorbed,  without  the  slightest 
reservation  being  made  for  the  ancient  owners,  and  instead  of 
encouragement  to  induce  them  to  settle  down  to  the  peaceful 
occupations  of  quiet  citizens,  a  demand  of  one  pound  a  year  was 
made  upon  the  head  of  each  family  as  a  quitrent  !  They  were  not 
a  conquered  people,  they  were  living  in  a  country  which,  as  Madura 
said,  had  belonged  to  Bushmen  from  time  immemorial.  They 
had  not  made  war  upon  the  Colony  as  the  frontier  tribes  of  Kaffirs 
had  done,  on  the  contrary  they  had  done  good  service  in  defence 
of  colonial  territory  and  in  retaking  cattle  and  other  stock  which 
had  been  captured  by  the  enemy,  and  now  they  were  rewarded 
for  those  services,  in  what  way  let  the  old  chief  Madura  describe. 
He  said  the  land  was  the  land  of  his  fathers,  and  that  now, 
although  he  and  his  people  had  served  the  government  for  three 
years,  they  were  told  they  must  pay  for  living  upon  it  !  Where  was 
the  money  to  come  from  ?  Such  a  thing,  if  forced  upon  them, 
must  entirely  ruin  them. 

These  reasonable  representations  met  with  no  response,  and 
this  wrong  certainly  formed  the  first  step  towards  the  final  ex- 
pulsion of  himself  and  his  people  from  a  territory  which  had 
descended  to  them  from  their  remote  ancestors.  Madura's 
case  appears  a  particularly  hard  one.  A  demand  was  made, 
for  the  miserable  allotment  of  land  marked  out  for  himself  and 
his  followers,  of  a  sum  which  was  equivalent  to  three  hundred 
pounds  per  annum,  being  at  the  rate  of  one  pound  for  each  of  his 
male  followers.  Had  the  same  quantity  of  land  been  granted 
to   a  farmer,  the  sum  would  not  have  exceeded  fifty  pounds. 

About  the  time  of  the  Kaffir  war  of  1850  he  retreated  from  the 
Glen  Grey  portion  of  the  country  to  a  great  cave  on  the  banks  of 
the  'Ca'cadu  or  White  Kei,  opposite  the  site  of  the  present  St. 
Mark's  mission  station.  It  might  well  have  been  termed  the 
cave  of  the  Springbok,  from  its  symbolic  painting,  which  con- 
sisted of  a  troop  of  about  one  hundred  and  fifty  beautifully 


painted  springboks.  Here  he  was  living  when  Archdeacon 
White  estabUshed  the  mission  at  St.  Mark's.  In  1856,  when  the 
chief  was  about  eighty  years  old,  he  again  fell  back  with  the 
shattered  wreck  of  his  once  powerful  tribe  towards  the  fastnesses 
of  the  Drakensberg,  since  which  time  he  has  been  lost  sight  of, 
and  his  ultimate  fate  is  buried  in  oblivion. 

The  Bushmen  of  the  Zuurveld. 

Before  the  first  Dutch  elephant  hunters  crossed  the  mountains 
that  bound  the  long  kloof,  the  inhabitants  of  the  tract  of 
country  which  they  called  the  Zuurveld  were  numerous 
Bushman  tribes,  a  number  of  clans  of  a  mixed  race  called 
Ghonaqua,  whose  various  sections  showed  different  grades 
of  intermixture  according  as  the  Kaffir,  Hottentot,  or  Bushman 
element  predominated,  and  a  few  straggling  parties  of  fugitive 
Kaffirs,  who  seemed  generally  to  fraternize  with  one  or  other  of 
the  different  hordes  of  Ghonaquas.  As  we  proceed  with  our 
investigation  these  points  will  be  made  perfectly  clear,  especially 
when  we  treat  of  the  eastern  advance  of  the  early  Dutch  settlers, 
when  we  shall  be  able  to  clear  up  the  mystery  of  the  origin  of 
the  Ghonaquas. 

All  the  travellers  of  the  last  century  are  unanimous  in  stating 
that  after  passing  the  Gamtoos  no  other  people  were  met  with 
than  Bushmen,  Ghonaqua,  and  wandering  or  emigrant  Kaffirs. 
If  numerous  Hottentot  tribes  ever  existed  there  they  had  certainly 
most  mysteriously  disappeared  before  these  travellers  visited  the 
country,  without  the  aid  of  either  Dutch  oppression  on  the  one 
hand  or  Kaffir  intrusion  on  the  other.  Lieutenant  Paterson,  who 
travelled  through  it  in  1779,  is  explicit  on  thesubject,  as  he  informs 
us  that  the  Zuurveld  was  then  called  Bushmanland.  He  says  that 
when  at  the  Zwartkops,  he  was  overtaken  by  a  Boer,  an  old 
German  named  Kock,  who  was  on  his  way  to  this  portion  of 
Bushmanland,  and  who  was  well  acquainted  with  the  country  and 
the  manners  of  the  natives.  He  therefore  became  a  welcome  com- 
panion, as  the  place  where  he  lived  lay  in  their  way.  Near  the 
Koega  they  were  visited  by  two  Kaffirs,  who  very  seldom  ven- 
tured so  far  out  of  their  own  country. 

Several  Boers  had  already  in  1779  squatted  near  the  Sunday 
river  ;  they  were  possessed  of  numerous  herds  of  cattle,  but 


seldom  troubled  themselves  either  to  build  houses  or  cultivate 
land.  Jan  Kock  lived  on  a  place  called  Sand  Flat.  This  was 
then  a  portion  of  Bushmanland. 

When  Sparrman  travelled  through  the  country  a  few  years 
previously,  no  Boers  had  attempted  to  settle  in  it,  with  the  ex- 
ception of  one  Gert  Scheepers,  who  had  located  himself  on  the 
site  of  the  present  town  of  Uitenhage.  The  only  Europeans  who 
then  visited  it  came  for  the  ostensible  purpose  of  elephant 
hunting,  and  also,  according  to  the  evidence  obtained  by  Sparr- 
man, to  indulge  in  their  old  and  favourite  amusement  of  kidnap- 
ping Bushman  children  whenever  a  favourable  opportunity 
offered.  Thus  at  the  Lower  Sunday  river,  or  t'Nuka-fKamma, 
i.e.  Grassy  Water,  three  old  Bushmen  came  to  visit  the  travellers  ; 
they  distinguished  themselves  by  the  name  "  good  Bushmen," 
probably  from  the  circumstance  of  their  grazing  a  few  cattle  and 
not  living  by  rapine  like  others  of  their  countrymen.  They  com- 
plained of  the  Boers  having  been  with  them,  and  having  carried 
off  all  their  young  people,  so  that  now  they  were  left  alone  in 
their  old  age  to  look  after  themselves  and  their  cattle.  Sparr- 
man also  tells  us  that  when  other  food  failed  these  Zuurveld 
Bushmen,  they  lived  on  the  gum  arable  from  the  mimosa  for 
many  days  together. 

In  those  days  all  the  rivers  and  other  watering  places  had 
Bushman  names.  PitfaUs  excavated  by  them  were  frequently 
met  with,  while  Sparrman  procured  Bushman  guides  at  t'Nuka 
t  'Kamma  to  take  him  through  the  country.  He  gives  us  a  num- 
ber of  names  of  various  localities  now  known  only  by  their  modem 
colonial  designations  ;  thus,  'Kensi  'kunni  aati  (let  not  the  ugly 
drink  here  !)  was  that  of  the  Little  Bushman's  river. 

After  passing  the  Bushman's  river,  they  came  to  Muishond 
Kloof,  near  which  was  a  valley  with  good  water  called  fKur- 
fkeija-fkei-fkasibina ;  leaving  Assagai  Bush  and  crossing 
Nieuwjaars  Drift,  they  came  to  f  Kurekoi-t' Ku  ;  two  hours  from 
this  they  arrived  at  'Quamma^dacka,  then  passed  the  Little  Fish 
river,  and  afterwards  the  fKau  t'kay  or  Great  Fish  river. 

The  Zuurveld  Bushmen  in  Sparrman's  time  appear  from  some 
cause  to  have  congregated  along  the  course  of  this  last  river,  and 
especially  towards  its  mouth,  or  the  portion  now  called  Lower 
Albany  ;  and  thus  formed  a  cordon  of  so  formidable  a  character 


that  the  Kaffirs  for  a  considerable  time  could  not  break  through 
it  in  any  large  numbers.  The  gathering  along  this  particular 
line  may  have  been  occasioned  by  a  desire  to  remove  as  far  as 
possible  from  the  Boers  on  the  west,  with  their  kidnapping  pro- 
pensities, and  from  the  Kaffirs,  who  were  steadily  crossing  the 
Kei  and  occupying  the  country  between  that  river  and  the 

The  last  Bushman  captain  who  ruled  over  this  portion  of  the 
country  was  named  'Kohla,  who  was  termed  by  the  colonists 
Ruyter.  In  1775  he  had  his  great  kraal  near  the  mouth  of  the 
Great  Fish  river.  Sparrman  during  his  visit  was  able  to  collect 
a  considerable  amount  of  information  about  him,  from  which  we 
are  able  to  extract  the  following  outline  of  the  history  of  this 
chief.  What  his  fathers  were,  whether  he  was  one  of  their 
hereditary  chiefs  or  a  patriot  leader  who  rose  by  his  own  energy 
and  enterprise,  is  now  lost,  none  of  his  earlier  history  having 
been  recorded.  He  was  at  one  time  in  the  service  of  a  farmer 
in  the  Roggeveld,  where,  having  a  quarrel  with  a  companion,  he 
killed  him,  and  then,  apprehensive  of  the  consequences,  as 
according  to  the  laws  of  the  colony  his  certain  fate  would  be  the 
gallows,  he  fled  from  justice. 

After  a  variety  of  adventures  he  arrived  at  length  in  the 
country  near  the  Bushman's  river.  His  principal  home  there- 
after was  between  this  river  and  the  fKau-VKay,  or  Great  Fish 
river.  Here,  by  his  intrepidity,  he  was  raised  to  the  chieftainship 
of  a  horde  of  Bushmen.  The  cave  paintings  near  Salem  are 
probably  the  productions  of  the  artists  of  this  tribe.  At  the  head 
of  these  people  he  subdued  several  other  tribes,  and  afterwards 
made  them  take  arms  against  the  Kaffirs.  He  inspired  his  ad- 
herents with  such  confidence  in  his  leadership  that  they  never 
questioned  any  order  which  he  issued,  while  the  conquests  he 
made  supplied  them  with  plunder. 

The  respective  methods  of  fighting  of  the  Kaffirs  and  Bush- 
men differed  considerably.  The  Kaffirs  used  assagais,  which  they 
could  not  employ  with  any  certain  effect  at  a  greater  distance  than 
twenty  or  thirty  paces.  Of  these  weapons  they  did  not  carry 
into  the  field  more  than  three  or  four,  so  that  they  were  soon 
disarmed  in  case  their  antagonists  were  bold  and  nimble  enough 
to  pick  up  these  weapons  as  soon  as  the  Kaffirs  had  hurled  them. 


They  used  a  shield  of  ox  hide  large  enough  to  cover  their  bodies 
completely,  on  shrinking  themselves  into  a  smaller  compass. 
When  they  were  in  actual  engagement  they  shifted  their 
bodies  continually  from  one  side  to  the  other,  so  that  they  could 
not  easily  be  hit,  taking  care  aU  the  time  to  keep  their  assagais 
in  readiness  to  throw  at  any  unguarded  part  of  their  antagonists. 
The  Bushmen,  on  the  other  hand,  who  were  without  shields, 
were  more  than  a  match  for  the  Kaffirs  in  the  open  countrj'  as 
long  as  they  could  keep  at  a  good  distance  by  reason  of  their  bows 
and  poisoned  arrows,  which,  although  they  did  not  immediately 
make  so  painful  a  wound  as  the  assagai,  were  more  dangerous  in 
the  end,  and  it  was  in  consequence  of  this  circumstance  that 
'Kohla's  Bushmen  beat  the  Kaffirs  for  so  long  a  time. 

While  his  daring  rendered  him  formidable  to  the  Kaffirs, 
he  took  care,  by  inflicting  the  punishment  of  death  on  his  subjects 
for  the  least  fault,  or  even  on  the  suspicion  of  a  fault,  to  exact, 
and  for  a  considerable  period  to  enjoy,  the  most  servile  sub- 
mission and  implicit  obedience  from  the  simple  uncultivated 
mortals  he  had  gathered  together.  He  used  frecjuently  with  his 
own  hand  to  put  to  death  one  or  more  of  these  slavish  vassals, 
and  would  immediately  throw  his  javelin  through  the  body  of 
any  of  his  attendants  that  hesitated,  at  his  nod,  to  dispatch  the 
man  whom  he  had  marked  out  as  the  victim  of  his  revengeful 
and  cruel  disposition.  When  the  Christians  reproached  him  with 
his  barbarity  and  bloodthirstiness,  he  replied,  "  It  was  in  a  lucky 
hour  when  I  conveyed  myself  out  of  your  authority.  You  would 
have  hanged  me  for  having  killed  an  antagonist,  as  if  I  had  com- 
mitted a  crime,  whereas  to  kiU  an  enemy  is  reckoned  a  laudable 
and  manly  action." 

To  the  colonists  he  always  behaved  as  a  true  and  faithful 
ally,  and  in  return  for  the  tobacco  and  other  articles  which  they 
presented  to  him,  used  to  help  them  to  make  slaves  of  such 
straggling  Bushmen  as  did  not  live  under  his  jurisdiction.  By 
keeping  the  Kaffirs  at  a  proper  distance,  he  not  only  served  his 
own  turn,  but  was  likewise  extremely  useful  to  the  colonists. 
But,  however  cautious  he  was  to  maintain  peace  with  his  more 
powerful  neighbours  the  Christians,  yet  when  he  was  in  the 
meridian  of  life  and  at  the  zenith  of  his  power  he  received 
them  with  an  uncommon  degree  of  pride  and  arrogance,  which 


they  could  not  easily  brook  from  a  man  they  looked  upon  as  a 
vagabond.  He  succeeded,  however,  in  keeping  up  his  importance 
with  them  as  well  as  with  his  own  people  for  many  years. 

But  ultimately  the  despotic  conduct  and  daring  that  had  been 
the  stepping  stones  by  which  he  had  made  himself  so  famous 
and  for  some  time  so  powerful  and  so  much  feared,  led  to  his 
downfall.  His  subjects,  weary  of  the  ambition  and  severe  dis- 
cipline of  their  chief,  took  an  opportunity  of  deserting  him  at 
a  time  when  he  was  gallantly  marching  at  their  head  against  the 
Kaffirs.  He  was  deserted  almost  in  the  very  face  of  his  enemies. 
Being  no  longer  so  swift  of  foot  as  he  had  been  in  his  youth, 
he  was  not  able  to  make  his  escape,  and  was  consequently  taken 
prisoner,  but  being  recognized  as  a  chief,  his  life,  according  to 
Kaffir  custom,  was  spared,  and  he  was  sent  back  to  his  people, 
yet  not  without  menaces  of  having  his  eyes  put  out  if  he  should 
rise  against  them  in  arms  in  future. 

This  misfortune  and  the  salutary  lesson  given  to  him  by  his 
enemies  were  not  so  efficacious  however  as  to  divert  his  hostile 
intentions  against  the  Kaffirs,  as  soon  as  he  had  collected  together 
a  number  of  his  people.  The  recollection  of  the  days  of  his  former 
victories,  when  he  had  pushed  his  attacks  upon  them  to  the  east- 
ward of  the  'Kaisi-kamma,  still  inspired  him.  In  1776  he 
endeavoured  to  incite  another  petty  Bushman  chief  against  them, 
and  had  received  from  him  promises  of  assistance  as  soon  as  he 
could  get  iron  to  head  his  arrows  with  and  make  the  other  neces- 
sary preparations.  Nbtwithstanding  this  proof  of  his  indomit- 
able resolution,  many  were  apprehensive,  and  not  without  reason, 
that  the  old  warrior  and  tyrant  would  meet  his  death  in  this 
expedition,  which,  tired  of  himself  and  his  adverse  fortune,  he 
seemed  to  be  in  search  of. 

The  tract  of  country  situated  near  the  mouth  of  the  fKau- 
t'kay,  or  Great  Fish  river,  was  the  situation  which  he  preferred 
for  his  principal  residence.  In  1776,  at  the  time  of  Sparrman's 
visit,  he  was  old  and  infirm,  and  barely  a  director  of  some  two 
hundred  people.  He  was  wont,  at  this  time,  to  receive  his 
Christian  acquaintances  in  the  most  friendly  manner,  and  with 
tears  in  his  eyes  to  ask  for  tobacco,  no  longer  by  way  of  tribute, 
but  as  a  present  which  he  was  willing  to  receive  from  their  bounty. 
In  1779  the  old  Bushman  chief   had  fallen  back  from  the 


advanced  position  he  held  near  the  mouth  of  the  Great  Fish  river, 
in  Sparrman's  time,  to  near  the  Bushman's  river,  where  Paterson 
found  him.  The  fire  of  the  old  warrior  was  not  yet  altogether 
extinguisl^ed,  he  had  still  some  two  hundred  Bushmen  and 
Kaffirs  in  his  service,  and  a  few  hours  before  Paterson's  arrival 
he  had  fought  against  a  number  of  Kaffirs,  beaten  them  off  the 
field,  and  taken  a  number  of  their  cattle.  The  exact  date  of  his 
death  is  not  known.  According  to  custom  he  had  appointed  the 
youngest  of  his  three  sons  to  be  heir  to  his  possessions 
and  chieftainship.  None  of  them,  however,  inherited  the 
father's  talents  and  abilities  in  a  sufficient  degree  to  enable 
him  to  establish  himself  in  the  succession  at  his  father's 

In  1813  Mr.  Campbell  was  visited  during  his  stay  at  Bethels- 
dorp  by  Benedictus  Platje  Ruyter,  who  said  that  he  lived  a  day's 
journey  off.  He  was  dressed  in  a  short  blue  jacket  and  white 
trousers,  and  had  a  white  lace  epaulette  on  his  right  shoulder. 
He  held  in  his  hand  a  formidable  staff,  about  six  feet  long,  with 
a  brass  head  on  which  were  His  Majesty's  arms,  presented  to 
him  by  Government.  He  said  that  aU  that  country  and  also 
the  Zuurveld  belonged  to  his  grandfather,  but  they  had  been 
deprived  of  it  by  the  Boers  and  Kaf&rs.  He  complained  bitterly 
also  of  the  Boers  for  the  cruelties  they  had  perpetrated  upon 
his  countr5miien. 

The  decline  of  the  power  of  the  Bushman  chief  'Kohla  most 
decidedly  marks  an  epoch  in  South  African  history  with  regard 
to  the  intrusion  of  the  stronger  races.  With  all  his  faults,  he 
must  ever  be  looked  upon  as  the  last  great  chief  of  the  Coast 
Bushmen,  the  one  who  made  the  last  expiring  effort  to  maintain 
the  independence  of  his  race  in  that  part  of  the  ancient  hunting 
grounds  of  his  forefathers  which  bordered  on  the  sea-coast ; 
and  his  name,  as  a  consequence,  is  worthy  of  preservation  in  the 
history  of  the  country. 

True,  he  was  a  savage  ;  true,  he  committed  many  atrocities 
and  lavishly  shed  the  blood  of  his  own  people  ;  but  for  a  time 
he  strenuously  endeavoured,  and  successfully,  to  beat  back  the 
wave  of  barbarism  which  on  several  occasions,  since  he  gave  up 
the  struggle,  has  threatened  to  sweep  the  entire  country  from  the 
Urazimvubu    to  the  Cape.     It  was  only  when  he  disappeared 

210  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

from  the  scene  that  another  and  more  terrible  feature  was  given 
to  the  struggle  which  followed. 

It  was  no  longer  a  struggle  between  the  advancing  Kaffirs 
and  the  repelling  Bushmen,  for  the  latter,  at  least  those  of  the 
Zuurveld,  were  numbered  among  the  men  of  the  past.  The 
two  great  rival  races,  the  black  and  the  white,  met  for  the  first 
time  in  that  portion  of  South  Africa  face  to  face,  and  from  that 
moment  it  became,  with  little  intermission,  a  continuous  struggle 
between  the  bullet  and  the  assagai,  which  even  in  the  present 
day  is  not  decided. 

Along  the  coast  the  Bushmen  were  crushed  ;  and  the  Kaffir 
clans,  after  one  or  two  weak  and  unsuccessful  attempts  to  pene- 
trate to  the  north-west,  in  the  direction  of  De  Bruyn's  Hoogte, 
poured  over  the  Great  Fish  river,  when  the  Zuurveld  became  for 
upwards  of  a  generation  the  battle-ground  of  the  two  intruding 

By  some  it  has  been  asserted  that  the  country  above  described 
was  a  portion  of  the  possessions  of  the  Hottentot  race  from  time 
immemorial.  This  assertion  is  purely  mythical.  The  Hottentot 
was  not  an  aborigine.  It  is  true  that  broken  tribes  of  them  were 
found  scattered  through  many  parts  of  the  eastern  districts 
at  the  commencement  of  the  present  century,  when  they  were 
first  visited  by  missionaries,  but  they  were  driven  there  by  the 
emigrant  Boers.  It  is  also  true  that  a  considerable  number  of 
them,  who  had  managed  to  evade  the  thraldom  of  their  hard 
taskmasters,  were  roaming  over  some  portions  of  the  country 
towards  the  close  of  the  last  century,  leading  the  same  kind  of 
unsettled,  nomadic,  life  as  they  and  their  forefathers  had  before 
done  in  the  western  districts,  and  as  was  their  wont,  not  only 
plundering  one  another  when  occasion  offered  and  making 
depredations  upon  the  Dutch  colonists  who  were  gradually  filling 
up  the  country  and  obtaining  farms  by  the  usual  method  of  self- 
appropriation,  but  also  making  raids  upon  such  of  the  Kaffirs 
as  they  thought  they  might  be  able  to  reUeve  of  a  few  head  of 
cattle  with  the  least  risk  to  themselves. 

That  the  Hottentots  were  treated  with  great  cruelty  by  many 
of  the  old  colonists  few  will  be  prepared  to  deny,  outrage  begat 
outrage,  and  atrocity  atrocity,  but  on  the  other  hand  many 
abhorred  the  treatment  which  these  miserable  people  received, 


and  did  what  was  in  their  power  to  ameUorate  the  condition  of 
compulsory  servitude  to  which  all  those  who  lived  within  the  pale 
of  the  law  were  reduced.  It  was  thus  that  a  considerable  exodus 
of  them  occurred  as  soon  as  a  door  of  escape  was  opened  for  them, 
but  this  was  not  until  after  the  Bushmen  of  the  Long  Kloof 
mountains  were  subdued,  many  clans  of  them  exterminated, 
and  the  remnant  enslaved. 

In  1775  Kabeljauw  river  was  the  last  place  to  the  eastward 
where  Christians  were  permanently  established,  near  the  Gamtoos 
was  a  small  kraal  of  natives  under  a  captain  named  'Kees  ;  but 
it  seems  open  to  question  whether  these  were  of  pure  Hottentot 
blood  or  not.     In  1776  a  small  society  of  Gunjeman  Hottentots 
was  found  on   the  Zwartkops,  either  on   or   in  the  immediate 
neighbourhood  of  the  farm  of  Gert  Scheepers.     The  ancestors 
of  these  Hottentots  at  the  time  the  Dutch  first  invaded  this  part 
of  the  continent  inhabited  the  tract  of  country  about  Table  Bay, 
and  therefore  in  all  probability  were  nearly  connected  with  the 
'Koraquas,  the  progenitors  of  the  present  Koranas.     They  were 
without  any  chief  or  captain,  and  lived  on  friendly  terms  with  the 
farmer  and  most  likely  were  in  a  state  of  semi-vassalage  under 

From  this  point  to  the  banks  of  the  t'Kau-t'Kay,  or  Fish  river, 
as  before  pointed  out,  there  were  a  few  scattered  kraals  of 
Ghonaqua  and  Bushmen,  and  thus  it  seems  certain  that  in  the 
middle  of  last  century  no  large  Hottentot  tribes  existed  in  the 
country.  Had  this  been  the  case,  such  close  and  accurate 
observers  as  Sparrman,  who'passed  through  it  twice,  and  Paterson, 
who  followed  him,  would  doubtlessly  have  recorded  the  fact. 

In  favour  of  an  earlier  Hottentot  occupation,  it  has  been 
advanced  that  these  natives  make  a  sort  of  general  declaration 
that  the  country  was  theirs.  Such  claims  were  afterwards  set 
up  for  Waterboer,  Moshesh,  and  others,  to  the  exclusion  of  the 
aboriginal  Bushman  owners.  Another  argument  brought  for- 
ward has  been  that  some  of  the  leading  captains  being  able  to 
trace  their  lineage  back  several  generations,  they  have  been  in 
possession  of  the  land  they  occupy  for  at  least  that  length  of 
time.  The  same  reasoning  has  been  adopted  by  some  writers 
with  regard  to  the  proprietorship  of  areas  of  country  occupied 
by  some  of  the  Kaffir  and  Basutu  chiefs,  but  to  state  that  because 


a  man  has  a  lengthened  pedigree  his  remotest  known  ancestors 
must  have  been  the  owners  of  the  soU  occupied  by  him  is  an 
absurdity  too  transparent  to  need  serious  refutation.  The  writer, 
when  he  first  entered  upon  this  enquiry  thirty  years  ago,  never 
met  an  old  Hottentot  who  did  not  assert  that  his  forefathers 
came  from  the  west,  or  the  Cape. 

In  the  year  1776  Baron  Van  Plettenberg,  governor  of  the  Cape 
Settlement,  rescinded  the  order  forbidding  the  inhabitants 
settling  in  portions  of  the  country  east  of  the  Kabeljauw,  and 
several  Boers  in  consequence  removed  to  the  Sunday  river  in 
order  to  settle  there,  while  some  farmers  trekked  with  their 
wives,  children,  and  cattle  into  the  'Krake-kamma,  on  account 
of  the  government  having  given  them  permission  to  do  so. 
Thus  it  was  that  the  two  streams  of  migration  were  already  com- 
mencing to  overlap.  A  small  kraal  of  Kaffirs,  the  forerunners  of 
the  great  host  which  was  to  follow,  had  even  at  this  early  stage 
penetrated  as  far  to  the  west  as  the  Zwartkops,  and  established 
themselves  a  short  distance  from  Gert  Scheepers. 

The  elements  of  future  strife  were  therefore  gathering,  which 
at  no  distant  period  were  to  burst  into  a  flame,  whose  violence 
caused  for  many  years  an  immense  amount  of  misery  and 

Chapter  XII 


We  have  attempted  to  obtain  a  view  of  most  of  the  leading 
groups  of  Bushman  clans  which  once  held  possession  of  the 
country.  Several  have  been  omitted,  such  as  those  of  the 
Langekloof,  the  Tarka,  Great  Winterberg,  and  Koonap,  as  it 
will  be  necessary  to  treat  of  these  more  fully  when  we  come  to 
speak  of  the  eastern  advance  of  the  Dutch  colonists  and  the  later 
English  occupation.  In  the  same  manner  we  have  deferred  con- 
sidering the  breaking  up  of  the  clans  of  the  Middle  Veld  of  the 
present  Orange  Free  State  by  the  intrusion  of  the  Koranas 
and  other  invading  tribes.  There  were  also  a  number  of  minor 
groups  intervening  between  the  larger  ones  which  we  have 
mentioned,  but  of  which  little  now  is  known  except  that  they 
once  existed,  and  that  most  of  them  were  shot  down  by  those 
who  seized  their  country,  because  they  resented  the  unjustifiable 
wrong  and  attempted  to  resist. 

Such  was  the  fate  of  those  who  once  inhabited  the  rocks  of 
Thaba  Nchu  and  the  caves  in  the  surrounding  mountains. 
Harris,  when  passing  through  this  country,  found  the  slope  of 
a  hill  near  the  present  site  of  Bloemfontein  besprinkled  with  the 
mouldering  bones  of  Bushmen,  and  a  few  years  ago  there  were 
numerous  spots  in  the  Free  State  which  told  the  same  melancholy 
tale  of  the  fate  of  the  aborigines.  These  unhappy  fugitives 
at  last  became  so  terrified  at  the  sight  of  any  human  being  that 
there  were  portions  of  the  country  where  they  concealed  them- 
selves so  effectually  that  a  traveller  might  pass  through  its  length 
and  breadth  without  seeing  a  single  sovil,  or  even,  if  he  were  not 
aware  of  the  fact,  suspecting  that  it  was  inhabited.  Harris 
informs  us  that  when  he  passed  through  the  'Kolong  basin, 
once  the  home  of  a  powerful  group  of  tribes,  such  had  become 

214  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

their  general  distrust  of  visitors  that  the  males  would  never 
approach  them,  except  when  forced  to  do  so,  and  then  always 
evincing  great  trepidation,  no  object  being  more  unwelcome  to 
their  sight  than  a  troop  of  horsemen  on  the  plain. 

We  shall  now  collect  such  evidence  as  is  available  to  illustrate 
some  of  the  closing  scenes  in  the  terrible  drama  in  which  they 
had  to  fill  so  important  a  part  of  the  role  in  their  struggle  for 
existence,  when  they  found  the  hand  of  every  man  was  against 
them,  when  a  civilized  government  sanctioned  the  policy  of 
extermination,  when  the  subjects  of  that  government,  fleeing 
from  their  own  supposed  wrongs,  seized  the  vast  country  beyond 
the  borders  and  there  followed  the  example  of  their  fathers,  and 
acting  up  to  their  traditions  forced  the  unfortunate  Bushmen  into 
the  position  of  pirates  of  the  desert. 

As  Moffat  describes  them,  they  ascended  the  mountain's  brow, 
or  peak,  with  an  acuteness  of  sight'superior  perhaps  to  our  common 
telescopes,  and  surveyed  the  plains  beneath,  either  to  discover 
game  or  cattle,  or  to  watch  the  movements  of  those  whose  herds 
they  had  stolen.  If  danger  approached,  they  ascended  almost 
inaccessible  cliffs,  from  which  nothing  but  the  rifle  ball  could  dis- 
lodge them  ;  when  closely  pursued  they  would  take  refuge  in 
dens  and  caves,  in  which  their  enemies  have  sometimes  smothered 
scores  to  death,  blocking  up  the  entrance  with  brushwood,  and 
setting  it  on  fire. 

Such  deeds  as  this,  and  the  carrying  off  of  their  women  and 
children  into  bondage,  raised  the  bitterest  feelings  of  revenge 
in  their  breasts,  until  they  seemed  at  times  animated  with  a  desire 
to  wreak  their  vengeance  not  only  upon  their  relentless  perse- 
cutors and  oppressors,  but  upon  every  living  thing  belonging  to 
them  which  fell  into  their  hands.  Thus  when  they  had  taken  a 
troop  of  cattle,  their  first  object  was  to  escape  to  a  rendezvous, 
a  cave  or  overhanging  precipice,  or  some  sequestered  spot, 
difficult  of  access  to  strangers  for  want  of  water.  As  soon  as 
they  perceived  any  of  the  cattle  too  fatigued  to  proceed,  they 
stabbed  them  ;  and  if  the  pursuers  came  within  sight  and  there 
was  the  slightest  possibility  of  their  being  overtaken,  they  would 
thrust  their  spears  or  arrows,  if  time  would  permit,  into  every 
animal  in  the  troop.  This  habit,  which  obtained  universally 
among  these  unfortunate  people,  exasperated  their  enemies  to 


the  last  degree,  and  vengeance  fell  on  every  man,  woman,  and 
child,  whenever  they  came  within  reach  of  their  missiles. 

It  is  somewhat  surprising  after  the  remorseless  butchery 
and  indiscriminate  slaughter  of  the  unhappy  Bushmen,  that  their 
enemies  should  charge  them  with  fighting  "  without  conscience  "  ; 
yet  the  writer  has  heard  numbers  of  the  old  voortrekkers  express 
this  opinion.  Their  conflicts  with  the  farmers  themselves  had 
taught  them  this  lesson  so  frequently,  that  in  their  wild  and  des- 
perate struggles  to  maintain  the  birthright  they  had  inherited 
from  their  fathers,  and  which,  as  we  have  seen,  must  have  been 
in  their  possession  from  a  very  remote  period,  they  neither  showed 
nor  expected  mercy.  Every  race  of  man,  savage  or  civilized, 
that  came  in  contact  with  them,  appropriated  their  land  without 
a  single  pretext  of  justification,  and  waged  a  war  of  extermination 
against  them  as  soon  as  they  resisted  or  resented  the  wrong  that 
was  done  to  them. 

The  pastoral  tribes  of  natives  and  colonial  flock  owners  could 
not  appreciate  the  feelings  of  attachment  which  those  who  lived 
by  the  chase  alone  had  to  their  hunting-grounds,  while  the  con- 
stant encroachments  which  were  made  upon  them  impressed 
the  untutored  minds  of  the  hunter  race  with  the  idea  that  the 
whole  world  was  arrayed  against  them.  Their  almost  fierce 
love  of  independence,  their  almost  equally  unalterable  determina- 
tion to  maintain  and  die  in  their  primitive  modes  of  life,  utter 
contempt — at  least  of  the  majority  of  them — for  all  pastoral  or 
agricultural  pursuits,  made  them  to  be  looked  upon  by  all  the 
larger  and  more  robust  of  the  African  races  as  a  species  of  wild 
animal  which  it  was  praiseworthy  to  exterminate  whenever  an 
opportunity  offered. 

But  in  this  struggle  for  existence,  their  bitterest  enemies, 
of  whatever  shade  of  colour  they  might  be,  were  forced  to  make 
an  unqualified  acknowledgment  of  the  courage  and  daring  they 
so  invariably  exhibited.  Even  when  surrounded  and  borne  down 
by  a  host  of  enemies,  the  Bushman  seldom  or  never  asked  for 
mercy  from  his  hated  foes.  Wounded  and  bleeding  as  he  might 
be,  he  continued  obstinately  fighting  to  the  last.  Shot  through 
one  arm,  he  would  instantly  use  his  knee  or  foot  to  enable  him  to 
draw  his  bow  with  the  one  remaining  uninjured.  If  his  last  arrow 
was  gone,  he  still  struggled  as  best  he  might,  until  finding  death 


remorselessly  upon  him,  he  hastened  to  cover  his  head  that  no 
enemy  might  see  the  expression  of  death  agony  upon  his  face  ! 

Many  instances  of  vengeance  have  been  recorded  against  them, 
in  which  uncontrollable  feelings  of  revenge  have  hurried  them  into 
the  committal  of  terrible  atrocities.  One  or  two  examples  will 
suffice  to  show  the  nature  of  these.  A  considerable  tribe  of  Bush- 
men once  inhabited  the  rock-shelters  which  are  found  at  the  foot 
of  the  low  precipices  surrounding  Bushman's  Hoek,  near  Bastaards 
Drift,  on  the  Noku  Mogokare  or  Caledon  river.  After  the  Boers 
had  commenced  settling  in  the  country,  one  of  them  began  to 
build  a  small  house  in  the  Hoek,  and  cultivate  land  about  it. 
At  first  things  went  on  quietly  between  the  intruder  and  the  old 
inhabitants,  but  after  a  time  for  some  real  or  pretended  depreda- 
tions the  caves  were  cleared,  and  their  owners  driven  from  the 
neighbourhood.  Enraged  at  this  ejectment,  they  formed  a  plan 
to  revenge  what  they  considered  an  unjustifiable  intrusion  into 
their  ancient  possessions.  The  house  was  attacked  and  set  on 
fire  in  the  night,  all  the  older  members  were  shot  as  they  tried  to 
escape  from  the  burning  building,  while  the  younger  children 
were  thrown  back  into  the  flames.  The  ruined  walls  where  this 
fearful  tragedy  was  enacted  are  standing  at  the  present  day. 

Many  charges  of  acts  of  equal  cruelty  and  revenge  have  been 
heaped  upon  this  hunted  race,  some  being  of  the  most  terrible 
description,  such  as  the  disembowelling  of  unfortunate  women 
who  have  fallen  into  their  hands  and  leaving  them  to  die  in  the 
most  frightful  agonies.  On  one  occasion  they  surprised  a  party 
of  five,  the  wife  and  daughter  of  a  Dutch  farmer  who  had  rendered 
himself  obnoxious  to  them,  and  three  native  women,  one  of  whom 
was  a  tamed  Bushwoman,  at  a  washing  place,  and  treated  them 
aU  in  this  horrible  manner. 

All  the  available  evidence,  however,  with  regard  to  the  vin- 
dictiveness  of  the  Bushmen  proves  that  it  was  not  a  part  of  their 
natural  character,  but  rather  a  developed  feeling  which  gradually 
took  possession  of  their  breasts  :  it  was  the  outcrop  of  despera- 
tion and  despair. 

As  the  encroachments  of  the  stronger  races  increased,  the 
Bushman  was  kept  in  a  perpetual  state  of  alarm,  not  merely  for 
the  security  of  his  little  property,  but  for  his  personal  safety  and 
that  of  his  family.     He  was  obliged  to  inhabit  rocks  almost 


inaccessible  to  any  foot  but  his  own,  and  was  perpetually  called 
upon  to  remove  from  place  to  place  lest  the  colonists  should 
discover  his  abode.  When  he  ventured  forth  in  quest  of  game 
or  roots,  he  was  in  the  utmost  fear  of  discovery,  and  had  con- 
sequently leisure  for  nothing  but  the  necessary  regard  to  his 
own  personal  safety. 

In  the  first  days  of  his  intercourse  with  white  people  these  dis- 
turbing influences  did  not  exist,  and  therefore  no  such  vindictive 
feelings  were  manifested.  In  the  beginning  the  strangers  were 
looked  upon  as  beings  of  a  superior  order,  endowed  with  super- 
natural powers,  men  who  had  thunder  and  lightning  at  command, 
and  who  could  slay  the  swiftest  and  most  ferocious  animals 
by  some  invisible  means,  even  at  a  distance  from  them.  In  those 
days,  instead  of  looking  upon  them  as  pernicious  enemies,  the 
hunting  parties  of  the  whites  were  welcomed,  from  the  abundant 
supply  of  food  which  they  furnished,  the  spoils  of  the  numerous 
elephants  and  hippopotami  they  killed  affording  means  of  feasting 
and  festivity. 

In  1824  there  were  men  still  living  who  could  remember  this 
state  of  things  in  the  Cape  Colony,  and  in  1876  there  were  voor- 
trekkers  who  could  recollect  when  the  hunting  parties  that  first 
crossed  the  'Nu  'Gariep  were  received  in  a  similar  manner  north 
of  that  river,  when  the  men  of  the  old  hunter  race  hailed  their 
advent  as  visitors  bringing  in  their  train  days  of  plenty  and  re- 
joicing. But  when  their  land  was  in  question,  the  case  was 
altered.  Depredations  commenced  on  the  one  hand,  and  com- 
mandos on  the  other,  retaliation  followed,  and  commandos,  until 
they  became  a  portion  of  an  established  system,  which  left  absolute 
power  in  the  hands  of  the  very  men  who  most  benefited  by  their 
continuance.  The  grown  up  people  were  therefore  shot  down 
without  mercy,  and  the  children  were  dragged  into  a  state  of 
perpetual  servitude  ;  injuries  were  inflicted  on  both  sides,  and 
mutual  hatred,  as  a  natural  consequence,  increased  in  intensity. 

Little  is  now  known  of  the  final  struggle  of  the  clans  that  once 
occupied  the  present  Cape  Colony.  The  actors  therein  have  with 
few  exceptions  passed  away,  and  the  only  remembrance  preserved 
is  that  in  every  instance  they  maintained  the  hopeless  conflict 
with  an  unconquerable  spirit,  fighting  "  without  conscience  "  to 
the  very  last  against  the  men  who  had  predetermined  to  destroy 

2i8  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

them  utterly.  The  tragic  fate  of  the  last  clan  of  all  the  numerous 
tribes  which  once  inhabited  the  extensive  range  of  the  Sneeuw- 
berg  will  give  an  apt  demonstration  of  this,  and  will  vividly 
illustrate  the  relentless  manner  in  which  they  were  followed  up  to 
the  bitter  end.  This  touching  episode  was  related  to  the  writer 
by  Dr.  R.  Rubidge,  F.G.S.,  who  spent  the  greater  portion  of  his 
youth  in  wandering  about  the  rocks  and  crags  of  those  moun- 

He  stated  that  after  committing  some  depredations,  the  clan 
was  surrounded  by  a  commando  which  had  pursued  them  and 
succeeded  in  cutting  them  off  among  the  rocks  of  a  projecting 
shoulder  of  a  great  precipice.  Here  the  retreating  Bushmen 
turned  for  the  last  time  at  bay.  Their  untiring  enemies  were  on 
one  side,  a  yawning  gulf  without  any  chance  of  escape  on  the  other. 
A  dire  but  hopeless  struggle  for  life  commenced.  One  after  another 
they  fell  under  the  storm  of  bullets  with  which  their  adversaries 
assailed  them.  The  dead  and  dying  were  heaped  upon  the 
dizzy  projecting  ledge,  many  in  their  death  struggle  rolled  and 
fell  over  among  the  crags  and  fissures  in  the  depths  which  en- 
vironed them.  Still  they  resisted,  and  still  they  fell,  until  one 
only  remained  ;  and  yet,  with  the  bloody  heap  of  dead  around 
him  and  the  mangled  bodies  of  his  comrades  on  the  rocks  below, 
he  seemed  as  undaunted  as  when  surrounded  by  the  entire  band 
of  his  brave  companions.  Posting  himself  on  the  very  outermost 
point  of  the  projecting  rocks,  with  sheer  precipices  of  nearly  a 
couple  of  hundred  feet  on  either  side  of  him,  a  spot  where  no  man 
would  have  dared  to  follow  him,  he  defied  his  pursuers,  and  amid 
the  bullets  which  showered  around  him  he  appeared  to  have  a 
charmed  life  and  plied  his  arrows  with  unerring  aim  whenever  his 
enemies  incautiously  exposed  themselves. 

His  last  arrow  was  on  the  string.  A  slight  feeling  of  com- 
passion seemed  at  length  to  animate  the  hostile  multitude  that 
liemmed  him  in  ;  they  called  to  him  that  his  life  should  be  spared 
if  he  would  surrender.  He  let  fly  his  last  arrow  in  scorn  at  the 
speaker,  as  he  replied  that  "  a  chief  knew  how  to  die,  but  never  to 
surrender  to  the  race  who  had  despoiled  him  !  "  Then  with  a 
wild  shout  of  bitter  defiance  he  turned  round,  and  leaping  head- 
long into  the  deep  abyss  was  dashed  to  pieces  on  the  rocks  beneath. 
Thus  died,  with  a  Spartan-like  intrepidity,  the  last  of  the  clan. 


and  with  his  death  his  tribe  ceased  to  exist.  Dr.  Rubidge 
assured  the  writer  that  on  his  last  visit  to  the  spot,  only  a  few 
years  previously,  some  of  the  bleached  bones  of  this  exterminated 
tribe  were  stiU  to  be  seen  on  the  inaccessible  ledges  where  the 
bodies  had  lodged  in  their  fall. 

Not  content  with  destroying  these  unfortunate  creatures 
to  the|south  of  the  'Nu  'Gariep  or  Upper  Orange  river,  commandos, 
long  before  the  emigrant  farmers  moved  in  a  body  across  that 
stream,  were  sent  to  scour  the  country  to  the  north  of  it  and  to 
destroy  as  many  of  the  hordes  as  they  could  discover.  Three 
commandos  of  this  kind  carried  havoc  amongst  them  in  the  year 
1830/'  One  of  these,  consisting  of  one  hundred  and  nine  mounted 
"  Christians,"  under  the  command  of  A.  L.  Pretorius,  passed  one 
of  the  fords  near  the  present  town  of  Aliwal,  in  order  to  attack  the 
caves  in  the  mountains  along  the  course  of  the  river.  It  was  of 
this  commando  that  an  old  Bushwoman  who  had  made  a  kind 
of  hut  under  some  overhanging  rocks  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
Wepener,  gave  the  following  reminiscences,  when  questioned  upon 
the  subject  of  their  artists  by  the  writeij "  She  said  that  her 
name  was  S4  -hha,  that  her  father's  name  was  'Koot-seli,  and  that 
he  was  stiU  living  at  Thaba  'Nchu.  'When  asked  if  she  remem- 
bered any  of  the  traditions  of  her  tribe,  and  who  were  the  painters 
in  the  caves,  she  replied,  "  We  know  nothing  of  our  grandfathers, 
we  do  not  know  who  painted  our  pictures  ;  the  Dutchmen  shot 
them  aU  down  at  the  great  slaughter,  and  carried  us,  the  children, 
away.     I  was  a  little  girl,  six  or  seven  years  old,  at  the  time.j 

Mr.  Jacobus  du  Plessis,  who  acted  as  interpreter  to  the  com- 
mando under  Louw  Pretorius,  gave  the  following  description  of 
the  operations  of  the  division  to  which  he  was  attached,  at  the 
time  that  the  Bushmen  of  the  Genadeberg  were  exterminated. 
He  informed  the  writer  that  about  the  year  1830,  from  the  fre- 
quent complaints  made  by  the  Boers  of  robberies  and  other 
outrages  committed  by  Bushmen  to  the  various  fieldcomets, 
strong  representations  were  made  by  these  officers  of  the  necessity 
of  repressing  the  marauders  and  driving  out  the  thieves.  The 
thefts  were  principally  of  horses,  in  or  about  the  Cradock  district. 
These  were  immediately  driven  long  distances  and  exchanged  for 
others  obtained  in  different  directions,  and  thus  Bushmen  living 
even  at  as  great  a  distance  from  the  scene  of  depredations  as 

220  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

the  Genadeberg  were  said  to  be  implicated  in  them.  The  govern- 
ment apparently,  without  any  further  examination,  acceded  to 
the  strong  representations,  and  recklessly  issued  orders  which 
proved  the  death-warrant  of  several  hundred  unhappy  wretches, 
many  of  whom  must  have  been  perfectly  innocent  of  the  crime 
so  sweepingly  ascribed  to  them. 

Accordingly,  armed  with  these  letters  of  marque,  three  com- 
mandos were  marshalled  in  the  above  year  to  be  sent  against  the 
distant  clans  of  Bushmen,  with  the  intention  of  attacking  their 
strongholds  simultaneously  at  three  different  points.  One  moved 
through  the  country  south  of  the  Stormberg  ;  the  second  through 
the  present  Burghersdorp  arid  Wodehouse  districts,  through  the 
Washbank,  attacking  all  the  known  caves  up  to  the  branches 
of  the  Drakensberg  ;  the  third,  to  which  Mr.  Du  Plessis  was 
attached,  moved  along  the  Orange  river  towards  the  site  of  the 
present  town  of  Aliwal  North,  where,  crossing  the  river,  they 
pushed  on  and  attacked  the  tribe  that  occupied  the  caves  of 
the  Genadeberg. 

This  division  consisted  of  one  hundred  and  nine  Dutch 
burghers,  under  the  old  commandant  Pretorius,  and  Nicolaas 
Erasmus,  as  fighting  commandant,  second  in  command.  The 
attack  commenced  by  an  attempt  to  drive  out  the  Bushmen  from 
the  caves  and  strongholds  on  the  western  side  of  the  mountain- 
The  principal  of  these  were  near  and  under  the  waterfalls,  in  the 
two  principal  ravines  running  into  the  main  range,  the  approaches 
to  which  were  covered  with  enormous  loose  masses  of  rock,  large 
trees,  and  thick  brushwood,  making  an  advance  upon  them 
an  extremely  hazardous  undertaking.  Here  the  hunters  defended 
themselves  very  determinedly,  and  it  was  only  with  great  difficulty 
that  they  were  driven  from  point  to  point,  until  they  fell  back  to 
an  almost  inaccessible  position  under  the  great  waterfall.  They 
were,  however,  forced  at  last  to  abandon  this  post,  probably  owing 
to  the  failure  of  their  supply  of  arrows,  when  they  effected  their 
retreat  through  the  thickly  wooded  and  precipitous  glen  that 
forms  a  narrow  pass  to  the  opposite  side  of  the  mountain,  to  the 
great  cave  of  their  chief  in  Poshuli's  Hoek. 

This  cave  is  one  of  great  extent,  affording  secure  shelter  to  its 
inhabitants.  It  has  deep  ramifications  on  either  side,  with  an 
enormous  arch  of  rock  stretching  across  the  entire  breadth  of 


the  ravine.  Over  the  far  projecting  edge  of  this,  during  the  rainy 
season  a  torrent  of  water  precipitates  itself  into  the  chasm  below, 
which  is  choked  up  with  great  masses  of  rock  that  have  rolled  into 
it,  whUe  its  mouth  is  stiU  more  shielded  by  trees,  which  spring  up 
in  the  interstices  of  the  loosened  crags.  These  barriers  not  only 
made  the  stronghold  a  difficult  and  formidable  position,  but  the 
weU-known  daring  of  the  chief,  who  now  in  his  last  retreat  had 
turned  upon  his  pursuers  to  defend  it,  rendered  it  prudent  to  try 
to  induce  its  defenders  to  come  to  terms  and  surrender  them- 
selves, without  the  hazard  which  any  attempt  to  take  it  by  force 
would  necessarily  involve. 

For  this  purpose  the  attacking  commando  occupied  both  sides 
of  the  ravine,  thus  closing  up  all  the  approaches  to  the  cave  and 
cutting  off  any  chance  of  escape  should  its  occupants  attempt 
to  get  away.  From  these  points  the  more  central  portions  of 
the  cave  were  exposed  to  the  invaders'  fire.  After  thus  beleag- 
uering the  place,  three  attempts  were  made  to  parley  with  the 
Bushman  chief. 

On  each  occasion  he  allowed  the  interpreter,  Du  Plessis,  then 
a  boy  of  fourteen  years  of  age,  to  enter  his  rock-fort  to  deliver 
his  message,  and  then  depart  unharmed,  without  any  attempt 
to  molest  him.  It  is  well  worthy  of  notice  that  the  Bushmen, 
wild  and  untamed  savages  as  they  were  considered,  almost  in 
every  instance  respected  the  person  of  an  envoy  sent  to  them  ; 
and  it  was  not  until  after  due  notice  had  been  given  to  him  three 
distinct  times  to  depart,  that  they  considered  the  truce  at  an 
end,  and  that  any  further  delay  was  at  his  own  peril.  This 
intimation  was  given  by  the  repetition  of  the  word  'Kamans  ! 
Be  gone  !  with  a  short  interval  between  each. 

'Korel  was  the  name  of  the  Bushman  chief  on  this  occasion. 
He  was  rather  larger  in  stature  than  any  of  his  tribe,  but  had 
a  defect  in  one  eye,  that  rendered  it  useless.  Notwithstanding 
this,  as  a  bowman  he  far  surpassed  any  other  Bushman.  His 
bow  was  larger  than  those  in  common  use  by  the  men  of  his 
tribe,  and  his  arrows  were  longer,  which  enabled  him  to  project 
one  of  his  shafts  with  fatal  effect  to  a  distance  of  one  hundred  and 
thirty  yards. 

On  Du  Plessis'  admittance  into  the  cave,  he  found  this  wUd 
hunter  chief  seated  in  the  middle  of  a  circle  of  his  followers. 

222  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

'Korel  was  urged  to  surrender,  and  promised  safe  conduct  for 
himself  and  the  people  of  his  tribe  if  he  would  submit ;  the  hope- 
lessness of  resistance  against  the  strong  armed  force  by  which  he 
was  surrounded  was  pointed  out  ;  but  the  chief,  although  told 
by  the  messenger  that  to  ensure  his  safety  they  would  walk  hand 
in  hand  until  they  came  into  the  presence  of  the  commandant> 
had  no  confidence  in  the  promises  made  to  him.  At  last,  be- 
coming impatient,  he  said,  "  Go  !  be  gone  !  Tell  your  command- 
ant that  I  am  not  a  child,  and  that  (striking  his  hand  upon  his 
breast)  I  have  a  strong  heart  here  !  Go  !  be  gone  !  My  eyes 
cannot  bear  the  sight  of  you  longer  ;  and  tell  your  'Gousa  my 
last  words  are  that  not  only  is  my  quiver  full  of  arrows,  but  they 
are  filleted  also  round  my  head,  and  that  I  shall  resist  and  defend 
myself  as  long  as  I  have  life  left  !     'Kamans  !    Go  !  be  gone  !  " 

The  envoy  departed,  and  was  allowed  to  return  to  the  com- 
mandant in  safety.  Then  commenced  the  attack  and  resistance 
in  earnest,  and  showers  of  arrows  flew  whizzing  around  any  and 
every  one  of  the  besiegers  who  exposed  himself  too  much,  or 
approached  too  near.  Storming  parties  were  organized,  and 
attempted  to  advance  under  cover  of  their  rudely  improvised 
shields  ;  now  they  advanced  a  little,  now  they  were  brought  to 
a  sudden  stand  by  the  difficulties  of  the  ground,  or  driven  back 
in  confusion  by  the  killing  or  wounding  of  one  of  their  companions. 
The  shafts  of  the  chief  were  shot  with  unerring  precision,  and  thus 
seven  of  the  attacking  party  were  struck  by  them. 

Commandant  Pretorius  became  most  anxious  for  the  safety 
of  his  men.  The  resistance  was  of  the  most  determined  char- 
acter, and  the  position  was  critical.  Erasmus,  seeing  that  the 
only  chance  would  be  to  form  a  lodgment  in  the  cave,  called  for 
volunteers  to  carry  this  design  into  execution.  Thirty  of  the 
burghers  responded  to  the  call.  This  time  a  kind  of  great 
shield  or  screen  was  made,  by  extending  their  long  duffel  cloaks 
upon  cross  sticks,  these  being  found  impervious  to  the  slender 
reed  arrows  of  the  Bushmen,  their  points  merely  becoming 
entangled  in  the  texture  of  the  extended  garments,  and  then 
hanging  down  like  enormous  elongated  bristles.  Under  this  cover 
they  advanced  cautiously  in  a  column.  A  chosen  marksman, 
named  Myburgh,  was  told  off  to  make  a  flank  movement,  so 
that  from  his  ambush  he  might  shoot  down  any  of  the  defenders 


of  the  cave  when  they  exposed  themselves  in  aiming  at  their 
advancing  foes. 

The  Bushmen,  determined  to  the  last,  made  a  desperate  effort 
to  beat  back  their  assailants,  who  although  slowly  were  now 
steadily  advancing  upon  them,  until  the  undaunted  'Korel, 
too  frequently  showing  himself  at  the  same  point,  made  himself 
too  prominent  an  object  to  the  concealed  marksman,  when  he 
received  a  shot  and  fell  back  dead  among  his  faithful  and  equally 
undaunted  followers.  They  fell  to  a  man,  and  although  their 
enemies  lost  seven  of  their  number  in  killed  and  wounded,  not 
a  soul  among  the  Bushmen  escaped  the  snare  that  was  spread 
around  their  cave.  Thus  perished  the  Bushmen  of  the  Genade- 
berg,  and  thus  ended  the  Bushman  occupation  of  the  great  cave 
in  Poshuli's  Hoek. 

Among  other  places  which  this  commando  attacked  were 
several  caves  in  the  mountains  near  Matateng,  or  Komet  Spruit 
Poort,  also  called  Roode  Poort.  Here  at  one  of  the  strongholds 
where  all  the  defenders  were  shot,  a  Bushman,  although  his  leg 
was  shattered  by  a  bullet,  continued  to  defend  himself,  and  suc- 
ceeded in  keeping  his  enemies  at  bay  as  long  as  his  arrows  lasted, 
when  a  second  ball  through  his  head  put  an  end  to  his  existence. 
'Kou'ke  stated  that  in  addition  to  this  there  was  another 
Bushman  captain,  whom  the  Boers  called  Uithaalder,  who  had 
been  driven  from  point  to  point  between  the  Orange  and  Caledon 
rivers  by  this  commando,  until  he  and  the  remnant  of  his  tribe 
were  hemmed  in  by  their  pursuers  among  the  rocks  and  krantzes 
of  the  same  Roode  Poort.  Here,  finding  himself  at  bay,  he 
resolved  to  make  a  final  stand  ;  and  although  an  almost  incessant 
fire  was  maintained  upon  himself  and  his  doomed  band,  he 
determinedly  and  successfully  repulsed  every  attack  that  was 
made  upon  him  during  seven  long  days.  By  the  evening  of  the 
seventh  day,  scarcely  one  of  his  men  had  an  arrow  left.  Feeling 
the  hopelessness  of  further  resistance,  and  knowing  that  they 
must  be  overcome  the  next  day,  when  he  was  certain  to  meet  the 
same  fate  that  had  overtaken  so  many  of  his  countrymen,  he 
during  the  night  successfully  carried  out  a  plan  that  those  ac- 
quainted with  the  locality  would  have  deemed  impossible. 

In  the  dead  'of  night  he  and  all  that  remained  of  his  tribe, 
men,  women,  and  children,  silently  scaled  the  steep  precipitous 

224  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

cliffs  that  overhung  his  position,  along  ledges  and  small  project- 
ing points  where  even  a  baboon  could  scarcely  have  obtained 
a  footing,  carrying  with  them  whatever  they  valued,  yet  so 
cleverly  was  this  desperate  and  daring  enterprise  carried  out  that 
not  the  least  alarm  was  given  to  the  camps  of  those  who  be- 
leaguered them.  In  the  morning  his  enemies  woke  up  to  find  a 
deserted  cave,  with  nothing  more  than  the  bare  and  silent  rocks 
about  them,  while  long  before  dawn  the  Bushman  captain  and 
all  his  people  were  many  miles  away,  making  good  their 
retreat  until  they  found  a  secure  asylum  in  the  rugged  fastnesses 
of  the  Drakensberg. 

After  this  commando  crossed  the  Orange  river,  others  were  not 
long  in  following  ;  others  again  penetrated  into  the  glens  of  the 
Washbank,  and  Commandant  Greyling  was  sent  as  far  to  the  east- 
ward in  1835-6  as  the  noted  Gatberg.  In  1836-7  the  emigrant 
farmers  began  to  flock  into  the  country  north  of  the  'Nu-'Gariep, 
when  the  more  systematic  extermination  of  the  Bushmen  com- 
menced ;  and  there  are  many  localities  scattered  over  the  present 
Free  State  where  terrible  tragedies  were  enacted,  but  which 
have  been  hidden  from  the  eyes  of  too  prjdng  curiosity.  The 
Bushmen  who  lived  in  the  caves  in  Knoffel  Spruit  and  Rie- 
beeksdal  were  all  shot  in  the  year  1836,  by  a  commando  sent  to 
root  them  out. 

It  was  thus  that  the  Bok-poort  Bushmen  perished ;  and  the 
fate  of  the  last  survivor  affords  another  instance,  among  many 
of  the  personal  intrepidity  of  the  men  of  this  race.  His  name 
is  unknown,  but  he  was  the  captain  or  leader  of  a  party  that 
was  attacked  by  a  strong  patrol  on  the  rocky  ridge  formed  by  the 
great  dyke  that  runs  from  the  present  homestead  near  the  poort, 
towards  the  Caledon.  All  his  companions  had  fallen  under  the 
buUets  of  their  assailants,  and  now  he  alone  was  left  to  withstand 
the  entire  brunt  of  the  attack.  This  he  did,  nothing  daunted, 
by  sheltering  himself  behind  three  or  four  oxen  that  the  Bushmen 
had  with  them,  now  shooting  over  their  backs,  now  launching 
his  arrows  from  between  their  legs.  This  he  managed  so  adroitly 
that  he  never  once  exposed  himself  to  the  fire  of  his  enemies, 
while  at  the  same  time  the  steadiness  of  his  aim  kept  them  all 
at  such  a  respectful  distance  that  they  began  to  fear  that  he  would 
ultimately  escape. 


To  prevent  this,  they  commenced  a  parley  with  him  ;  at 
first  he  would  not  listen  to  them,  and  only  replied  by  letting  fly 
an  arrow  or  two  to  prevent  approach.  At  length,  probably  from 
the  diminishing  number  of  his  arrows,  and  under  strong  assurances 
that  his  life  would  be  spared,  he  consented  to  capitulate.  He  left 
his  cover,  and  advanced  amongst  them  ;  but  immediately  he 
was  in  their  power,  in  utter  violation  of  the  promises  that  had 
been  made,  one  of  his  enraged  captors  treacherously  shot  him 
through  the  head,  and  a  heap  of  stones  was  hastily  thrown  over 
his  body.  Thus  ended  the  career  of  the  last  of  the  Bok-poort 

From  year  to  year  the  same  system  was  continued,  and  year 
after  year  some  horde  or  other  was  exterminated.  In  1849 
the  Boers  made  a  commando  to  destroy  some  Bushmen  that  were 
on  a  hUl  in  Oliver's  Kloof,  on  the  Caledon. 

Under  the  rule  of  the  Sovereignty  the  same  ruthless  policy 
was  perpetuated.  The  last  of  their  strongholds  wSre  attacked, 
and  the  unhappy  occupants  shot  down  when  they  could  not 
manage  to  escape.  These  operations  were  sometimes  carried 
out  under  the  personal  superintendence  of  the  British  Resident. 

The  great  caves  of  the  Matlakeng  or  Aasvogelberg  were  taken 
by  storm,  and  the  clans  that  inhabited  them  disappeared  from 
the  face  of  the  earth.  The  Bushmen  of  Thaba  Patsoa  had  retired 
for  safety  to  the  precipitous  table  crest  of  their  mountain,  but 
their  fancied  security  proved  their  ruin.  In  the  dead  of  night, 
the  force  of  the  Resident  climbed  to  the  top  of  the  mountain  by  a 
craggy  path,  and  then  as  the  dawn  was  breaking,  by  a  coup-de- 
main  the  sleeping  horde  was  overpowered  and  the  greater  portion 
of  them  slain. 

The  last  Bushmen  of  Boloko  or  Groote  Vecht  Kop  were  under 
a  chief  who  had  obtained  the  name  of  Danster  and  was  living 
with  his  people  in  one  of  the  great  caves  there.  There  is  no 
evidence  to  show  whether  this  man  was  the  same  individual 
as  the  treacherous  murderer  of  the  Windvogel  and  Lichtenstein 
people  or  not,  but  this  Bushman  of  Boloko  was  slain  and  his  people 
destroyed  by  a  Mosuto  of  the  name  of  Raphotho.^ 

Mapaya  was  the  last  captain  of  the  Bushmen  inhabiting  the 
caves    of    the    neighbouring    range    called    Mapayasberg.     He 
^  Memoir  by  Miss  L.  E.  Lemue.     Notes  by  Charles  S.  Orpen. 


226  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

repulsed  the  commando  that  was  sent  to  drive  his  people  out  of 
their  caves,  notwithstanding  that  they  attempted  to  do  so  by  the 
use  of  hand  grenades,  a  number  of  which  exploded  in  the  stronghold 
of  the  chief  himself,  which  he  had  fortified  by  the  addition  of  a 
small  parapet  waU  of  rough  stones  piled  together  ;  but  although 
the  assailants  succeeded  in  lodging  a  considerable  number  within 
this  enclosure,  their  explosion  seemed  to  produce  no  other  effect 
than  that  some  bleeding  and  wounded  women  made  their  appear- 
ance and  came  crawling  towards  them.     One  of  the  besiegers,  an 
Englishman,  was  killed  on  the  spot  with  a  poisoned  arrow. 
They  found  it  impossible  to  obtain  a  position  whence  they  could 
command  the  cave,  while  the  defenders  kept  up  a  determined 
resistance,  not  only  with  flights  of  arrows,  but  by  rolling  down 
great  masses  of  rock  upon  their  assailants,  aided  by  a  few  bullets 
from  some  muskets  which  they  had  managed  to  get  into  their 
possession.     This  storm  of  missiles  effectually  checked  the  ad- 
vance of  the  attacking  party,  and  they  were  ultimately  obliged 
to  retire,  baffled  and  beaten  by  the  resolution  of  this  Bushman 
chief.     No  other  attack  was  made  upon  them,  but  after  a  time 
the  mountain  was  found  abandoned. 

When  the  chief  and  his  clan  evacuated  the  mountain  no  one 
knew  what  had  become  of  them,  nor  was  any  further  information 
ever  obtained,  although  it  was  beUeved  that  they  had  made  a 
secret  march  to  their  fugitive  countrymen  who  had  sought  a 
refuge  in  the  depths  of  the  Malutis. 

Although  the  Basutu  tribes  invaded  the  mountainous  parts 
of  the  old  Bushman  territory,  the  original  inhabitants,  who 
escaped  the  rapacious  jaws  of  the  cannibals,  tenaciously  held, 
in  most  instances,  their  mountain  strongholds  until  the  great 
Basutu  war  with  the  Free  State,  when  the  Basutus,  retreating 
themselves  to  these  mountains,  seized  and  fortified  aU  the  avail- 
able caves  and  ejected  the  ancient  owners. 

In  this  struggle,  these  scattered  remnants  of  Bushman  tribes 
in  many  instances  made  common  cause  with  the  Basutus,  and 
frequently  their  individual  bravery  did  much  to  check  the  superior 
forces  of  the  Free  State,  and  even  on  some  occasions  turned  the 
tide  of  battle.  Numerous  incidents  of  this  kind  are  related  even 
by  those  who  were  opposed  to  them. 

One  of  the  great  caves  of  the  Langeberg  is  situated  in  a  pre- 


cipitous  ravine  in  the  rear  of  the  kraal  of  Lacoa,  a  son  of  MoHtsane, 
chief  of  the  Bataung.  It  is  of  great  extent,  and  its  innermost 
ramifications  are  lost  in  darkness,  with  dripping  springs  in  several 
parts  of  it.  A  great  number  of  cattle  might  be  driven  into  it. 
This  cave  had  been  from  time  immemorial  one  of  the  strongholds 
of  the  Bushmen  of  the  mountain,  but  as  the  stronger  tribes  of 
natives  kept  forcibly  filling  up  the  country,  they  had  gradually 
disappeared,  either  under  the  clubs,  the  battleaxes,  or  the  assagais 
of  the  invaders,  until  its  sole  inhabitants  were  one  solitary 
Bushman  with  his  two  wives. 

At  the  commencement  of  the  war  the  cave  was  occupied  by 
the  Basutus,  and  fortified  by  them  with  a  strong  stone  breast- 
work. It  certainly  might  have  been  made  a  formidable  position, 
for  the  greater  portion  of  the  cave  was  completely  bomb-proof.. 
It  was  attacked  by  a  large  commando  supplied  with  artillery. 
The  numerous  marks  both  of  bullets  and  cannon  shot  testify,  even 
at  the  present  day,  how  heavy  was  the  fire  directed  upon  it, 
A  storming  party  had  gradually  worked  its  way  up  the  almost 
precipitous  ascent,  they  had  gained  a  footing  near  the  breastwork 
itself,  a  young  man  named  Massyn  had  already  leaped  upon  it, 
revolver  in  hand,  the  Basutu  defenders  were  shrinking  back  into 
the  deeper  recesses  of  the  cave,  when  a  kind  of  panic  seized  the 
almost  victorious,  but  breathless  storming  party,  and  on  a  sudden 
they  feU,  some  almost  rolling,  back  in  confusion,  leaving  their 
comrade  alone  on  the  breastwork  to  escape  as  best  he  could. 

This  sudden  change  was  occasioned  by  the  old  inhabitant  of 
the  cave,  who  having  concealed  himself  behind  some  rocks 
commenced  plying  his  whizzing  arrows  amongst  them  with  such 
rapidity,  while  they  were  unfit  after  the  severe  climbing  they  had 
performed,  to  take  steady  aim,  that  they  saw  no  safety  from  the 
Bushman's  poisoned  shafts  except  in  prompt  retreat.  After  this 
no  other  storming  party  had  the  courage  to  make  a  second  attempt, 
and  the  siege  of  the  cave  was  raised.  At  the  close  of  the  war, 
when  he  was  asked  why  he  defended  that  spot  so  determinedly 
for  the  Basutus,  he  replied  that  he  did  not  fight  for  them,  but  to 
protect  his  ground  and  the  dwelling  of  his  father. 

A  somewhat  similar  instance  occurred  of  a  Bushman  defending 
the  old  cave  of  his  tribe  after  the  Basutus  had  taken  possession 
of  and  fortified  it,  as  a  shelter  during  the  same  war.     When  this 

228  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

place,  which  was  situated  near  the  Leeuw  river,  was  attacked, 
he  took  up  his  position  on  a  projecting  but  nearly  inaccessible 
ledge  immediately  above  it,  where  he  had  erected  a  small  breast- 
work for  his  own  special  occupation.  From  this  coign  of  vantage 
he  positively  kept  for  a  considerable  time  the  whole  commando  at 
bay,  and  entirely  prevented  them  from  making  any  decisive 
movement  against  the  cave,  until  at  length  a  chance  shot  put  an 
end  to  his  resistance  and  his  life  at  the  same  time. 

The  tenacity  with  which  isolated  survivors  of  once  powerful 
tribes  of  these  Bushmen  stuck  to  their  old  caves  is  astonishing. 
They  preferred  to  linger  out  their  Hves  in  abject  misery,  so  long  as 
they  could  remain  in  their  neighbourhood,  rather  than  follow  those 
of  their  race  who  had  removed  to  a  distance,  a  step  which  would 
have  forced  these  unhappy  outcasts  to  abandon  them  for 
ever,  an  idea  which  they  could  not  endure.  Much  pity  is  often 
expressed  for  the  poor  natives,  the  descendants  of  tribes  of  savages 
who  but  two  or  three  generations  ago  so  ruthlessly  invaded  and 
appropriated  to  themselves  the  hunting  grounds  of  this  most 
primitive  race  ;  but  little  commiseration  has  been  expressed 
towards  the  ancient  owners  of  the  land,  who  even  now  have  left 
evidence  behind  them  that  they  must  have  remained  in  undis- 
turbed possession  of  it  for  thousands  of  years. 

Numerous  instances  might  yet  be  collected  of  this  devotion 
and  passionate  attachment  of  the  ancient  aborigines  to  the  homes 
of  their  fathers  and  their  ancestral  caves,  of  which  the  painted 
walls  at  one  time  formed  their  pride  and  their  glory. 

The  last  remnants  of  the  painter  tribes  took  tefuge  in  the 
Malutis,  where  their  numbers  gradually  increased  until  they  were 
able  to  muster  some  hundreds  of  fighting  men.  Some  of  their 
clans  were  scattered  through  all  the  fastnesses  of  that  most  pre- 
cipitous range,  and  here  their  artists  once  more  adorned  their 
caves  with  the  latest  productions  of  their  talents.  Here  the  last 
of  the  elands  had  attempted  to  find  an  asylum,  and  the  sole  surviv- 
ors of  the  hippopotami,  which  once  swarmed  in  all  the  great 
rivers  around,  tried  to  hide  themselves  in  the  deep  black  pools 
of  almost  inaccessible  glens  which  so  deeply  serrated  with  chasms 
and  tortuous  windings  the  very  heart  of  the  lofty  range.  Their 
principal  mountain  fortress  was  formed  of  the  projecting  shoulder, 
fitly  named  the  Giant's  Castle,  whose  towering  crags  rise,  like  the 


castellated  ruins  of  some  old-world  Titanic  fort,  thousands  of 
feet  above  the  hills  and  plains  below  which  form  the  coast  belt 
of  land  and  stretch  away  in  the  distance  in  dim  perspective  till 
lost  in  the  haze  of  the  great  southern  ocean. 

This  formed  their  last  retreat,  a  fitting  one  for  a  race  of  cave 
dwellers,  after  they  were  harried  out  of  the  western  portions  of 
the  range  by  the  Basutus.  Here,  their  game  having  been  destroyed 
and  a  mountainous  region  yielding  few  of  the  roots  and  tubers 
necessary  for  their  subsistence,  they  were  forced  to  levy  continuous 
blackmail  upon  the  stronger  races  which  had  seized  their  country 
and  had  thus  become  their  hereditary  enemies.  This  portion  of 
the  struggle,  however,  was  not  of  long  duration. 

On  the  one  hand  the  Basutus  slew  them  without  mercy, 
whenever  any  of  the  marauders  fell  into  their  hands.  The  Ba- 
phuti  chief  Morosi,  who  was  himself  a  half  caste  by  his  mother's 
side,  destroyed  the  men  of  entire  clans  in  order  that  he  and 
his  people  might  possess  the  women  and  girls,  and  only  a  few 
years  before  his  death  he  made  a  grand  final  raid  upon  their 
remaining  strongholds,  when  some  hundreds  of  them  perished, 
all  the  surviving  females  were  captured,  and  the  remnant 
of  the  unhappy  fugitives  was  forcibly  amalgamated  into  his 
tribe.  Up  to  the  time  of  the  breaking  out  of  the  colonial 
war  with  this  old  mountain  chief,  a  great  number  of  Bushmen, 
some  of  them  very  old  people,  were  residing  in  the  territory 
which  he  had  seized  and  claimed  as  his  own. 

While  the  work  of  extermination  was  being  thus  carried  on 
by  the  stronger  natives,  the  forays  of  the  Bushmen  into  the  lower 
country  were  followed  with  equally  severe  chastisement.  Fre- 
quent patrols  were  sent  in  search  of  them,  who  sometimes  pursued 
them  to  the  caves  in  which  they  had  taken  shelter. 

It  was  on  an  occasion  like  this  that  the  last  known  captain  of 
the  Maluti  Bushmen  met  his  tragic  fate.  His  name  was  Sweni, 
or  'Zweei,  "  the  Knife."  He  had  been  followed  up  to  his  strong- 
hold, where  he  was  besieged  in  his  cave  by  Allison's  people. 
He  had  a  few  guns,  and  he  defended  himself  vigorously  both  with 
these  and  his  poisoned  arrows.  At  length  the  arrows  were  ex- 
pended, but  he  still  kept  up  his  musketry  fire,  until  it  was  noticed 
by  the  besiegers  that  his  firing  was  without  effect,  and  that  the 
unfortunate  Zweei  had  been  for  a  considerable  time  firing  merely 


with  powder.  He  had  no  bullets,  and  he  had  imagined  that  the 
noise  alone  would  be  sufficient  to  keep  his  pursuers  at  bay. 
It  certainly  succeeded  until  all  his  arrows  were  finished  ;  but 
when  his  enemies  found  out  the  harmless  character  of  his  appar- 
ently desperate  resistance,  a  rush  was  made  upon  his  position 
without  further  delay,  and  the  last  stronghold  of  the  last  Bush- 
man captain  of  the  Malutis  was  taken  by  storm.  Even  then  he 
was  not  overcome  until  his  native  weapons  failed  him  and  he  had 
nothing  left  as  a  means  of  defence  but  a  few  miserable  guns  and 
some  powder  which  he  had  obtained  from  the  invaders. 

The  last  known  Bushman  artist  of  the  Malutis  was  shot  in  the 
Witteberg  Native  Reserve,  where  he  had  been  on  a  marauding 
expedition,  and  had  captured  some  horses.  He  was  evidently  a 
man  of  considerable  repute  among  his  race.  He  had  ten  small 
horn  pots  hanging  from  a  belt,  each  of  which  contained  a  different 
coloured  paint.  The  informant  of  the  writer  told  him  that  he 
saw  the  belt,  that  there  were  no  two  colours  alike,  and  that  each 
had  a  marked  difference  from  the  rest.  This  relic,  which  un- 
fortunately appears  to  have  been  lost,  proved  the  advance  some 
of  these  native  and  self-taught  artists  had  made  in  the  manu- 
facture  of  various  shades  of  colour. 

Thus  perished  the  last  of  the  painter  tribes  of  Bushmen! 
Thus  perished  their  chiefs  and  artists  !  after  a  continuous 
struggle  to  maintain  their  independence  and  to  free  their  hunting 
grounds  from  the  invaders  who  pressed  in  from  every  side  for 
upwards  of  a  couple  of  centuries,  a  period  which  commenced  with 
the  southern  migration  of  the  Hottentot  hordes,  and  did  not  end 
until  the  last  .surviving  clans  had  been  exterminated  with  the 
bullet  and  the  assagai,  and  their  bones  were  left  to  bleach  amid 
the  rugged  precipices  of  the  Malutis. 

The  undying  attachment  which  many  of  these  people  dis- 
played to  locahties  where  they  and  their  fathers  had  lived  has 
been  too  frequently  and  clearly  demonstrated  to  admit  of  refuta- 
tion. In  this  feeling,  and  in  their  attachment  to  their  tribal 
hunting  grounds  was  shown  their  love  of  country;  and  their 
determination  to  hold  and  defend  it— savage  as  they  may  have 
been,  degraded  as  their  enemies  ever  delighted  to  depict  them— 
evinced  their  patriotism  in  a  no  less  unmistakable  manner. 
Had  they  been  men  of  any  race  except  that  of  the  despised  and 

Exa<a  size. 



often  falsely  maligned  Bushman,  the  wrongs  which  were  heaped 
upon  them,  the  sufferings  they  endured,  their  daring  and  intre- 
pidity, their  unconquerable  spirit,  and  the  length  of  the  hopeless 
struggle  they  maintained  when  every  other  race  was  arrayed 
against  them,  coveting  their  land  and  thirsting  for  their  blood, 
would  have  placed  them,  notwithstanding  the  excesses  into  which 
they  were  betrayed,  in  the  rank  of  heroes  and  patriots  of  no  mean 

Chapter  XIII 


In  entering  upon  this  portion  of  our  subject  we  may  observe  that 
in  the  foregoing  chapters  we  have  shown  that  there  is  every  reason 
for  beheving  that  the  origin  of  the  .Bushman  race  was  far  north 
of  the  equator,  and  that  at  a  very  remote  period  they  followed 
the  migration  of  the  game  to  the  southward.  The  men  of  this 
hunter  race  remained  for  unknown  ages  in  apparently  undis- 
turbed possession  of  Central  and  Southern  Africa,  their  retreat 
farther  being  prevented  by  the  ocean,  and  there,  notwithstanding 
aU  the  social  convulsions  to  which  most  of  the  other  portions  of 
the  world  were  subject,  a  remnant  remains  until  the  present 
day,  standing  out  clear  and  strong  as  a  relic  and  memorial  of  a 
past  stage  in  the  world's  existence. 

It  was  here  in  this  remote  comer  of  the  world,  isolated  and 
unchanged,  the  ancient  Bushman  remained,  roaming  over  his 
broad  hunting  fields,  and  struggling  ever  and  anon  with  the  Uon 
for  the  ownership  and  sovereignty  of  the  countless  herds  that 
covered  the  mighty  plains  of  the  South.  And  this  while  in  other 
parts  of  the  world  civilization  was  developing  from  its  earliest 
germs,  while  ancient  empires  grew  up,  and  flourished,  and  decayed, 
and  became  again  nothing  but  a  memory  of  the  vanished  past. 
While  their  grandest  structures  were  crumbling  into  ruins,  and 
the  ruins  were  becoming  silently  entombed  in  the  drifting  sand, 
here  he,  the  associate  of  the  rhinoceros  and  giraffe,  sculptured 
the  rocks  over  with  the  primitive  designs  of  art,  and  covered  the 
walls  of  his  cave  dwelling  with  paintings,  many  so  closely  copied 
from  nature  that  they  would  seem  to  prove  that  he  himself, 
before  his  isolation,  must  have  formed  the  first  rippling  wave  of 
that  advancing  tide  of  civilization  which  was  thrown  off  from  the 


grand  centre  of  its  birth,  and  of  which  he,  after  his  enforced 
separation,  became  the  stereotyped  representative. 

Thus  it  was  that  driven  onward  before  the  development  and 
advance  of  races  stronger  than  himself,  he  still  fostered  and 
carried  with  him  this  art-germ,  until  he  found  himself  land-locked 
in  the  silent  parts  of  the  earth,  while  far  in  his  rear,  and  severed 
from  him  by  a  migration  of  still  darker  negro  barbarism,  which 
must  have  subsequently  forced  itself  across  the  path  he  had  taken, 
the  northern  nations,  of  which  he  was  a  distant  link,  were  carried 
onward  by  a  steady  after-flood  of  progress. 

It  was  this  very  progress,  however,  which  ultimately,  by 
hemming  in  the  seething  mass  of  equatorial  savage  life,  checked 
its  expansion  in  that  direction,  and  turned  towards  the  south  the 
tide  of  intervening  barbarism  represented  by  the  ancestors  of  the 
present  stronger  native  races  in  Southern  Africa.  This  move- 
ment, though  possibly  slow  at  first,  gradually  gained  strength 
and  impetus  with  the  increase  of  population,  and  now  creeping 
on,  now  surging  forward  under  the  guidance  of  ambitious  chief- 
tains, pressing  tribe  on  tribe  like  great  pursuing  waves,  then 
possibly  a  pause,  that  may  have  lasted  for  generations,  until 
amid  internal  heavings  and  internecine  war  another  storm-wave 
rose  which,  beaten  from  the  north,  would  naturally  expend  its 
fury  in  the  opposite  direction,  sweeping  at  various  points  over 
the  weaker  opposing  tribes,  or  hurr5dng  them  on  in  front  ever 
farther  and  farther,  and  ever  encroaching  more  and  more  upon 
the  domains  of  the  primitive  himter  race. 

While  here  a  single  fugitive  tribe  advanced,  there  they  pressed 
forward  in  various  streams,  to  the  west,  the  east,  or  over  the 
central  plains,  until  they  met  and  struggled,  and  in  every  struggle 
always  still  encroached.  The  hapless  hunters  formd  themselves 
opposed  at  every  point,  isolated  and  hemmed  in,  the  hate  of  every 
intruder  being  turned  especially  against  them.  Their  greatest 
crime  being  that  they  were  the  original  possessors  of  the  soil,  a 
war  of  extermination  was  waged  against  them,  until  at  last  the 
miserable  remnants  of  their  once  numerous  race  had  to  struggle 
for  a  precarious  existence  in  a  few  almost  inaccessible  mountain 
fastnesses  or  in  the  wilds  of  the  Kalahari  desert. 

In  following  up  this  inquiry  we  shall  find,  from  South  African 
evidence,  that  after  the  original  Bushman  migration,  the  Hot- 

234  THE    RACES    OF   SOUTH    AFRICA 

tentot  tribes,  at  a  comparatively  recent  period,  were  the  first  to 
follow  them.  These  people  were  themselves  driven  from  the 
more  central  portions  of  the  continent  by  another  race  still 
stronger  than  themselves.  They  then  retreated  in  a  south- 
westerly direction,  until  arrested  by  the  Atlantic,  when  they 
turned  towards  the  south.  /We  shall  find  that  in  the  meantime 
the  tribes  before  whom  the  Hottentots  fled  were  themselves 
pressed  farther  into  Central  Southern  Africa,  and  away  from  the 
eastern  coast,  by  stiU  stronger  and  fiercer  hordes  from  the  north. 
The  men  who  pressed  forward  the  Hottentots  were  the  Ba- 
choana  and  Basutu  hordes,  who  were  not  only  a  pastoral  but  an 
agricultural  people,  who  were  occasionally  impelled  by  their  lust 
for  cattle  to  attack  their  neighbours  ;  but  their  devotion  to  agri- 
cultural pursuits  must  have  prevented  them  from  making  rapid 
conquests.  Their  migrations,  therefore,  from  one  place  to  another 
would  be  a  matter  of  time,  that  took  generations  in  their  accom- 
plishment ;  while  the  men  who  were  slowly  but  surely  advancing 
upon  them  were  almost  purely  pastoral,  and  as  a  necessary  con- 
sequence more  warlike. 

We  shall  find  that  when  these  last,  who  wielded  the  club  and 
the  assagai,  discovered  more  luxuriant  and  more  permanent 
pasturage  for  their  herds  within  a  specified  zone  along  the  coast, 
they,  after  turning  the  flank  of  the  Bachoana  migration  more 
into  the  interior,  adhered  strictly  to  the  seaboard,  and  engrossed 
for  their  own  use  the  broad  belt  of  land  that  runs  for  an  immense 
distance  with  the  ocean  on  one  hand  and  the  great  range  of 
mountains  that  stretches  itself  almost  parallel  to  it  on  the  other. 
Here  tribe  followed  tribe,  the  stronger  as  in  every  other  case 
pressing  the  weaker  before  it ;  again  they  were  like  successive 
waves,  the  one  behind  urging  forward  the  one  immediately  in 
front,  the  Abatembu,  the  Amaxosa,  the  Amampondo,  and  the 
Amazulu,  ever  advancing  from  the  eastward. 

The  great  shields  adopted  by  the  foremost  Kaffirs  proved 
impervious  to  the  tiny  reed  shafts  of  the  Bushmen,  who  had 
until  then  been  in  undisturbed  possession  of  that  part  of  the  con- 
tinent, but  who  from  that  time  forward  were  driven  from  one 
retreat  to  another  until  the  survivors  retired  to  their  fellow 
countrymen  inhabiting  the  more  open  plains  to  the  north  of  the 
rugged  ranges  which  skirt  the  sea-coast  zone,  thus  leaving  the 



victorious  Kaf&r  race  to  advance  towards  the  west/  until  they 
came  in  contact  with  strange  white-faced  men  still  more  invincible 
than  they  had  imagined  themselves  to  be,  against  whom,  with 
many  minor  fluctuations,  the  tidal  wave  of  rude  barbarism  beat  / 
in  vain. 

In  examining  the  evidence  that  has  been  collected  upon  the 
migrations  and  history  of  the  tribes  above  alluded  to,  it  will  be 
better  to  follow  the  sequence  in  which  they  came  upon  the  South 
African  scene.     We  shall  therefore  consider — 

I.  The  Hottentot  tribes,  a  nomadic  pastoral  race,  armed 
with  bows  and  arrows,  originally  without  poison,  and 
sometimes  shields  and  miserably  small  javelins. 
II.  The  agricultural  and  pastoral  Bachoana  and  Basutu 
tribes  from  the  north,  also  armed  with  bows  and 
arrows,  small  shields,  assagais,  clubs,  and  battleaxes. 

III.  The  pastoral  and  more  warlike  Coast  Kaffirs,  the  Amaxosa 

and  other  frontier  tribes,  armed  with  javelins  or  assa- 
gais and  immense  shields  cut  from  an  entire  ox  hide. 

IV.  The  Abatembu  and  Amampondo  tribes,  with  assagais, 

clubs,  and  oval  shields. 
V.  The  Amazulu,  MatabUi,  and  Natal  tribes,  with  large 
oval  shields  and  short  broad-bladed  stabbing  assagais, 
with  which  they  charged  at  close  quarters. 
VI.  The  tribes  of  Basutuland,  with  assagais,  battleaxes,  and 

deeply  indented  shields. 
VII.  The  men  of  the  Dutch  settlements. 
VIII.  The  English  occupation. 
In  these  sections  we  shall  make  such  additional  remarks  upon 
the  manners  and  customs  of  the  native  races  as  may  tend  to  throw 
a  clearer  light  upon  their  probable  migration  and  origin. 

The  Hottentot  and  other  Kindred  Tribes. 

These  tribes  have  ^  a  special  interest  in  connection  with  the 
subject  of  our  inquiry,  from  the  fact  that  they  were  the  first 
people  with  whom  the  daring  navigators  of  the  fifteenth  and 
sixteenth  centuries  came  in  contact  at  the  southern  extremity  of 
the  African  continent.  For  a  long  time  they  were  considered 
the  aborigines  of  the  country  and  the  ancient  owners  of  the  soil, 
whose  forefathers  had  possessed  the  same  from  time  immemorial. 

236  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

Some  writers  described  them  as  a  very  numerous  race,  whose 
teeming  hordes  were  spread  over  the  length  and  breadth  of  the 
land.  From  the  evidence  collected  in  the  present  work,  we  shall 
find  that  such  statements  are  far  from  giving  a  correct  representa- 
tion of  the  case  :  that  instead  of  being  the  rightful  possessors  of 
the  soil,  they  had  intruded  into  territories  which  had  previously 
for  an  unknown  period  been  the  hunting  grounds  of  the  Bush- 
man race  ;  that  these  Hottentots,  in  the  earlier  days  of  their 
migrations,  came  from  the  far  interior  in  the  north-east,  and 
moved  towards  the  south-west  until  they  were  arrested  by  the 
Atlantic  a  few  degrees  south  of  the  equator  ;  that  after  this  they 
gradually  spread  themselves  along  the  western  coast,  dispossessing 
the  original  occupiers  of  the  country,  until  they  reached  the 
southern  limit  at  the  Cape  of  Good  Hope,  around  which  point 
and  between  this  and  the  lower  portion  of  the  Orange  river  their 
principal  tribes  congregated. 

We  shall  find  also  that  although  a  few  tribes  penetrated  a 
little  farther  to  the  eastward  along  the  coast  Hne,  it  would  appear 
that  for  a  long  period  they  did  not  make  any  serious  lodgment  in 
that  direction,  being  kept  back  not  only  by  the  formidable 
difficulties  presented  by  the  physical  features  of  the  country,  but 
also  by  terror  of  the  poisoned  arrows  of  the  fiery  race  of  pigmies 
who  occupied  all  the  mountain  barriers  to  the  eastward,  and  who  . 
at  last  roused  themselves  to  repel  the  further  unceremonious 
invasion  which  threatened  their  hitherto  undisputed  domains. 

Some  few  of  this  more  ancient  race  had  become  half  dependent 
upon  the  nomadic  herdsmen  who  were  gradually  attempting  to 
usurp  possession  of  all  the  best  pasturage  of  the  western  and 
open  portions  of  the  country,  but  by  far  the  greater  majority 
of  them  tenaciously  clung  to  the  mountain  strongholds  of  their 
fathers,  and  refused  to  come  to  terms  with  men  whom  they  con- 
sidered as  intruders,  who  were  gradually  spreading  themselves 
over  the  broad  pastures  of  their  heMs  of  game,  and  whose  presence 
scared  away  the  animals  which  afforded  them  the  means  of  sub- 

The  relative  condition  in  which  the  Hottentots  and  Bushmen 
were  found  in  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century  may  be 
received  as  confirmatory  evidence  of  the  fact  that  the  former  had 
not  long  been  settled  in  those  parts  of  the  country.     The  Bush- 


men  were  still  living  in  most  of  the  mountainous  and  wooded  por- 
tions of  it, — even  Table  Mountain  was  occupied  by  them, — and 
although  they  lived  in  a  condition  of  comparative  dependence  on 
the  Hottentots  and  acted  as  their  light  troops,  taking  care  of 
their  outposts,  and  performing  the  duties  of  messengers  and  spies, 
in  the  more  inaccessible  portions  of  the  country  to  the  east  and 
north-east  the  Bushmen  were  living  without  the  slightest  tram- 
mel, ruled  by  their  own  chiefs,  and  under  a  rude  form  of  govern- 
ment, which,  however  primitive  it  might  have  been  in  its  details, 
was  entirely  their  own  ;  and  there  appears  little  probability  that 
either  under  the  Hottentots  or  Kaffirs  these  Bushmen  would  ever 
have  fallen  into  a  lower  degree  of  servitude. 

Such  then  was  the  position  of  these  two  races  when  other  and 
still  stronger  men  appeared  upon  the  scene  :  a  race  of  white 
faces,  shaggy  and  bearded  as  the  native  lions  of  the  land,  a  race 
that  appeared  to  come  out  of  the  sea,  who  dwelt  upon  floating 
islands,  and  who  had  the  lightning  and  the  thunder  of  the  storm- 
cloud  at  their  command.  These  were  the  Portuguese,  who  came 
and  went  away  ;  and  again  the  Dutch,  who  made  a  permanent 
settlement.  At  first  the  new  arrivals  appeared  a  great  gain, 
but  after  a  time  the  gain  gradually  turned  all  on  one  side,  and 
upon  the  excuse  of  some  alleged  offence  or  other  encroachment 
followed  encroachment,  until  those  who  had  dispossessed  the  old 
hunter  tribes  and  appropriated  their  grounds  for  pasture  lands, 
found  themselves  not  only  almost  stripped  of  their  cattle,  but 
dispossessed  of  the  land  they  themselves  had  taken  ;  and  once 
more  a  migration  of  their  tribes  commenced. 

One  portion  pushed  on  towards  the  east,  followed  by  the 
stronger  race  who  had  dispossessed  them,  until  they  were  stopped 
by  the  great  mountain  barriers  which  barred  their  further  pro- 
gress in  that  direction,  and  whose  rugged  and  precipitous  passes, 
strongly  garrisoned  as  they  were  by  the  intrepid  and  imtamed 
dwellers  of  the  caves  and  forests,  they  dared  not  attempt  to  force, 
until  they  were  overtaken  by  their  pursuers  and  became  absorbed 
and  made  serfs  to  the  white  race  that  was  ever  on  their  heels. 
Another  portion  of  the  retreating  Hottentots  pressed  towards  the 
north  until  they  reached  the  valley  of  the  Great  river,  and  pene- 
trated along  its  course  far  into  that  portion  of  the  Bushman 
territory,  some  settling  down  for  a  time  in  that  part  of   the 

238  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

country  now  occupied  by  the  division  of  Victoria  West,  where  they 
spent  their  time  in  petty  quarrels  with  one  another,  each  separate 
kraal  trying  to  appropriate  the  cattle  of  those  richer  than  them- 
selves. This  and  encounters  with  the  Bushman  owners  of  the 
land  filled  up  their  time,  until  the  increasing  inroads  and  atroci- 
ties of  the  restless  bandit  Africaander  on  the  one  hand,  and  the 
pressure  from  the  extension  of  the  colonial  boundaries  on  the 
other,  once  more  set  them  on  the  move,  when  they  again  continued 
their  onward  migrations  until  they  reached  the  Orange  river  near 
its  junction  with  the  Vaal. 

Here  the  Korana  tribes  were  the  first  that  crossed.  After 
doing  so,  they  advanced  along  the  valley  of  the  Vaal,  seizing  the 
country  and  driving  back,  or  annihilating  whenever  possible,  the 
Bushman  tribes  that  strove  to  check  their  advance.  Pressing 
still  towards  the  north,  they  at  length  met,  near  the  present 
Kuruman  and  Lithako,  the  first  of  the  Bachoana  tribes,  who  had 
in  the  meantime  advanced  from  the  north,  and  who,  notwith- 
standing the  almost  irrepressible  predatory  habits  of  the  yellow- 
skins,  were  able  after  a  time  effectually  to  check  their  further 
progress  in  that  direction. 

For  a  long  series  of  years  after  this  collision  the  nomadic 
clans  indulged  their  love  of  plunder,  in  making  forays  and  raids 
upon  one  another,  or,  as  restless  as  the  Arabs  of  the  desert,  they 
attacked  any  other  tribe  in  the  neighbourhood  that  they  con- 
sidered sufficiently  weak  to  fall  an  easy  prey  to  their  lawlessness. 
All  these  tribes  were  purely  nomadic-pastoral,  never  making  the 
least  attempt  at  cultivation,  except  a  few  of  their  clans  who  raised 
a  little  dacha.  Their  condition  constantly  fluctuated  between 
the  extremes  of  plenty  and  famine. 

In  following  out  this  inquiry,  we  shall  therefore,  for  the  sake 
of  precision,  do  so  under  the  following  heads — 

1.  The  Hottentots  of  the  early  Dutch  Period, 

2.  The  Tribes  of  the  West  Coast, 

3.  The  Koran  as,  and 

4.  The  Griquas. 

The  Hottentots  of  the  Early  Dutch  Period. 

In  studying  this  portion  of  our  subject  we  soon  discover  that 
the  difficulties  of  investigation  are  greatly  increased,  and  con- 
siderable confusion  is  occasioned,  both  from  the  indiscriminate 


use  by  the  early  writers  of  different  names,  and  employing 
different  modes  of  spelling,  when  giving  the  appellation  of  any 
particular  tribe  ;  and  also  from  their  classing  all  under  the 
common  term  of  Hottentots,  where  other  tribes  such  as  the  Bush- 
men are  intended. 

From  the  only  reliable  evidence  which  can  now  be  obtained, 
it  would  appear  that  the  title  Hottentot  is  not  of  native  origin, 
but  a  sobriquet  given  to  them  by  the  early  Dutch  traders  from 
the  almost  unpronounceable  character  of  their  language.  The 
almost  constant  termination  of  qua  to  the  Hottentot  tribal 
names  is  asserted  by  Korana  authorities  to  be  synonymous  with 
the  Ba  and  Ama  prefixes  of  the  Bachoana  and  Kaffir  families, 
meaning  the  people,  sons,  or  men  of.  Thus  the  Cochoqua  would 
be  the  men  of  Cocho,  the  Gora  (or  more  probably  Kora)  choqua, 
the  men  of  Kora.  A  traveller  of  the  last  century  tells  us  that 
Auteniqua  signified  "  the  men  loaded  with  honey,"  from  the 
immense  number  of  wild  bees  which  swarmed  in  the  country 
they  inhabited.  Most  probably  the  other  names  would  be  found 
to  possess  equally  significant  meanings,  could  they  be  rightly 

This  nomadic  people  had  arrived  at  a  stereotyped  stage  of 
existence,  and  doubtless  woiild  for  many  ages  more  have  remained 
unprogressive,  retaining  all  their  primitive  modes  of  life,  had  it 
not  been  for  the  outward  pressure  which  was  brought  to  bear 
upon  them  about  the  middle  of  the  seventeenth  century.  Van 
Riebeek  among  a  number  of  other  epithets  describes  them  as 
"  stinking  and  greasy,"  and  it  is  quite  certain  that  wherever 
they  continued  sufficiently  isolated  they  remained  perfectly 
unaltered  to  the  end  of  last  century,  and  even  to  a  much 
later  period  in  numerous  instances.  So  much  so  that  the  sketch 
of  their  habits  and  customs  given  by  Barrow  in  1797  is  a  correct 
reflex  of  what  they  actually  were  nearly  a  century  and  a  half 
before.  All  the  Hottentots  were  evidently  of  the  same  low  type 
as  those  which  this  accurate  observer  described. 

The  Hottentots  and  Bushmen  had  two  remarkable  faculties 
in  common  :  that  of  quickness  of  sight  and  power  of  endurance 
in  withstanding  the  cravings  of  hmiger.  It  was  remarked  that 
they  could  distinguish  objects  scarcely  visible  to  other  men. 
This  faculty  was  well  illustrated  in  their  expertness  in  watching 

240  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

the  flight  of  bees  through  the  air,  and  by  this  means  discovering 
their  nest,  although  at  a  considerable  distance  ;  the  certainty 
also  with  which  they  followed  the  spoor  or  trail  of  animals  through 
a  difficult  tract  of  country  was  another  illustration  of  the  same 
fact,  they  being  frequently  able  to  follow  the  pursuit  at  a  full  run, 
tiring  out  horse  and  rider  who  accompanied  them.  With  regard 
to  their  endurance,  if  they  possessed  wonderful  power  in  with- 
standing the  pangs  of  hunger,  their  voracious  appetites  enabled 
them  to  make  up  for  long  fasting. 

In  preparing  their  meals,  their  meat  was  put  upon  the  embers 
in  long  strings,  and  when  just  warmed  through,  the  ashes  serving 
as  salt,  it  was  seized  and  one  end  applied  to  the  mouth,  when 
they  appeared  to  devour  it  in  a  consecutive  piece.  During  this 
operation,  while  the  meat  was  passing  through  their  hands, 
these  were  occasionally  cleaned  by  being  rubbed  over  different 
parts  of  their  bodies.  The  grease  from  these  smearings  would 
accumulate  for  years,  and  form  a  thick  black  coat  of  dirt  over 
their  skin,  hiding  its  true  colour,  with  the  exception  of  their 
faces  and  hands,  which  they  kept  somewhat  cleaner  by  rubbing 
them  over  with  the  dung  of  cattle. 

Their  dress  was  simple,  consisting  of  a  belt  made  of  a  thong 
cut  from  the  skin  of  some  animal.  From  this  was  suspended  a 
pouch  made  in  the  shape  of  a  ninepin  cut  longitudinally  of  jackal 
skin,  the  convex  and  hairy  side  being  outermost.  From  the 
back  part  one  or  two  small  flaps  of  leather  were  dependent, 
covering  no  particular  portion  of  the  body.  This  constituted 
the  whole  of  their  summer  dress.  The  Hottentot  women  of  those 
days  wandered  about  in  the  same  state  of  comparative  nudity  as 
that  of  their  lords  and  masters. 

At  an  early  period  of  life,  immediately  after  the  birth  of  the 
first  child,  the  breasts  began  to  grow  loose  and  flaccid,  and  as  old 
age  approached  these  became  distended  to  a  great  length  ;  the 
posterior  parts  at  the  same  time  swelled  out  to  enormous  dimen- 

They  lived  in  portable  huts  constructed  of  rush  mats,  which 
could  be  taken  down,  rolled  up,  and  made  into  btmdles  with 
their  sapling  supports  and  carried  from  place  to  place  on  their 
pack  oxen  during  their  migrations. 

Such  were  the  tribes  of  wandering  herdsmen  found  by  Van 


Riebeek  at  Table  Bay  at  the  time  of  his  landing.     The  principa 
of  these  were  the  Cochoqua    and    the    Gora  or  Kora-choqua, 
from  whom,  as  we  shall  discover  in  the  sequel,  the  present  Korana 
clans  appear  to  have  descended. 

The  Cochoqua  were  those  who  frequently  resided  in  the 
immediate  neighbourhood  of  Table  Bay.  They  generally  occu- 
pied the  coimtry  from  False  Bay  to  Saldanha  Bay  and  from  Table 
Bay  to  the  mountains  in  the  east,  never  sta5dng  long  in  one  place, 
but  moving  about  for  change  of  pasture.  There  appear  to  have 
been  constant  jealousies  and  quarrels  between  the  tribes,  with 
occasional  raids  upon  each  other's  cattle  and  eloping  with  one 
another's  wives.  This  latter  amusement  seems  to  have  been  a 
common  occurrence  among  them,  and  thus  became  an  endless 
cause  of  turmoil  and  tribal  feuds. 

In  1652  the  Cochoqua  were  divided  into  two  branches,  the 
elder  one  being  under  a  chief  named  Oedasoa,  who  considered 
himself  the  paramount  chief,  the  other  under  a  secondary  captain 
named  Gonnema.  It  is  recorded  that  this  Oedasoa  had  carried 
off  the  wife  of  'Goeboe,  the  son  of  Sousa,  chief  of  the  Chainouqua. 
There  appear  to  have  been  several  tribes  which  at  one  time  acknow- 
ledged their  supremacy,  but  subsequently  threw  off  their  alle- 
giance. Amongst  others,  they  were  generally  at  variance  with 
the  Namaqua,  who  were  Hottentots  like  themselves.  Oedasoa 
said  that  although  these  people  had  many  cattle,  they  had  not 
so  many  men  as  he  had  ;  and  that  when  he  was  joined  by  the 
Korachoqua,  the  Goringhaiqua,  and  the  Cochoqua  under  the 
chief  Gonnema.  he  need  not  be  afraid  of  any  attempt  the  Namaqua 
might  maKe  upon  him.  From  this  fact  it  appears  very  probable 
that  the  Cochoqua,  the  Korachoqua,  and  the  Goringhaiqua  were 
kindred  tribes  of  so  recent  a  separation  that  they  speedily  re- 
united when  a  common  danger  threatened  them. 

The  following  recorded  facts  appear  to  support  this  position. 
The  Gorachoqua  were  a  people  described  to  be  rich  in  cattle. 
The  name  of  their  chief  was  'Choro  ;  he  took  away  the  wife  of 
Gonnema,  kinsman  of  the  chief  of  the  Cochoqua.  This  tribe  was 
discovered  in  1657  by  a  party  of  the  Dutch  a  day's  journey 
north-east  of  Tygerberg  ;  they  were  then  possessed  of  large  herds 
of  cattle,  and  were  supposed  to  be  able  to  muster  from  six  to  seven 
hundred  men.     They  were  supposed  to  belong  to,  or  to  be  closely 


242  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

allied  to  the  Cochoqua.  They  arrogated  to  themselves  the  title 
of  'Khoeque,  or  chief  over  other  tribes,  and  thus  often  got  into 
war  with  them.  This  is  the  very  assumption  made  by  the 
Taaibosch  branch  of  the  Koranas  at  the  present  day. 

As  the  early  writers  could  not  be  expected  to  detect  the  fine 
variations  sometimes  distinguishable  in  the  clicks  forming  such 
a  prominent  feature  in  this  class  of  languages,  it  would  appear 
as  if  in  the  name  of  this  tribe  G  has  been  employed  to  represent 
the  initial  click  found  in  it,  whereas  'K  is  more  probably  the  one 
which  ought  to  have  been  used,  when  the  word  would  be  as  a 
consequence  'Kora  instead  of  Gora,  the  former  being  the  one 
from  which  the  present  Koranas  derive  their  tribal  appellation. 
All  the  native  traditions  uphold  this  position.  In  fact  it  is  more 
than  probable  that  the  descendants  of  both  these  tribes  would  be 
found  amongst  the  Koranas  of  the  present  day,  and  thus  it  is  that 
the  history  of  the  first  peopling  of  the  Cape  by  white  men  is  so 
cleaily  preserved  among  the  traditions  of  this  tribe. 

The  Charingunqua  were  another  tribe  that  had  renounced  the 
authority  of  the  Cochoqua,  and  had  removed  to  the  Oliphant's 
river  in  consequence. 

The  Cochoqua  were  the  people  who  sold  the  Cape  peninsula 
to  the  Dutch  in  1672.  The  first  hostilities  between  the  Dutch 
and  these  Hottentots  broke  out  the  following  year.  Oedasoa 
was  then  dead,  and  Gonnema  had  succeeded  to  the  chief  authority 
in  the  tribe  ;  hence  it  was  that  this  tribe  was  subsequently  called 
Gonnemas.  The  Cochoqua  under  Gonnema  were  defeated  with 
the  loss  of  nearly  all  their  cattle.  The  state  of  unrest  which 
ensued  from  the  vain  endeavours  of  the  vanquished  Hottentots 
to  regain  a  portion  of  their  cherished  cattle,  caused  the  governor 
Goske  to  issue  in  1675,  three  years  after  their  defeat,  orders  that 
every  male  of  the  tribe  who  fell  into  the  hands  of  the  Dutch  was 
to  be  destroyed.  Van  Riebeek  stated  that  the  united  tribe  of 
the  Cochoqua,  twenty  years  before,  were  able  to  muster  three 
thousand  men  capable  of  bearing  arms,  and  that  they  often 
migrated  a  considerable  distance  inland  with  their  large  herds  of 
cattle,  carrying  all  their  movables  with  them  on  their  pack  oxen. 

Besides  these  tribes  there  was  another  called  Goringhaiqua, 
under  a  chief  named  'Go'gosoa.  These  people  appear  to  have 
leagued  with  the  Dutch  in  their  attack  upon  the  Cochoqua.    The 


strength  of  the  tribe  is  stated  by  one  writer  to  have  been  about 
three  hundred  men,  exclusive  of  women  and  children. 

The  Chariguriqua,  subsequently  called  Grigriqua,  lived  towards 
the  north,  in  the  country  intervening  between  the  Cochoqua  and 
the  Namaqua.  They  were  said  to  possess  large  herds  of  cattle. 
It  was  also  stated  that  they  were  without  any  hereditary  chief, 
and  that  the  tribe  itself  had  revolted  or  separated  from  the 
Cochoqua.  In  1658  a  portion  of  them  migrated  as  far  to  the 
southward  as  Saldanha  Bay,  but  they  evidently  shortly  after- 
wards returned  again  to  the  north,  as  in  1661,  when  Van  Meerhof 
undertook  an  expedition  to  the  Namaqua,  he  found  the  latter  in 
the  country  round  the  Khamiesbergen,  while  the  Grigriqua  were 
occupying  that  portion  along  the  lower  course  of  the  Oliphant's 
river.  At  this  time  the  Bushmen  inhabited  the  country  from  the 
Drakenstein  mountains  to  the  Quathlamba,  while  they  were  met 
with  as  far  as  the  Okavanga  towards  the  north. 

The  Hancumqua  and  the  Chainouqua  were  either  different 
titles  for,  or  subdivisions  of,  one  great  tribe.  The  former  appears 
the  more  probable.  Their  chief  claimed  to  be  paramount  over  all 
the  other  Hottentot  tribes.  His  title  was 'Choe-baka  or  'Khoe- 
baka,  which  is  described  as  meaning  'Khoe  a  mountain,  Baka 
the  highest  of  all  or  king.  The  name  of  this  ruler,  in  the  days  of 
Van  Riebeek,  was  Sousa  or  Sausoa.  The  name  of  his  son  was 
'Goe-boe,  who  married  the  daughter  of  Gogosoa.  She  was  carried 
off  by  Oedasoa.  Her  sister's  name  was  Osingkuina.  It  would 
appear  that  previous  to  the  landing  of  the  Dutch,  this  tribe  never 
migrated  from  place  to  place.  He  and  his  people  dwelt  in  the 
national  mat  huts  of  their  race  ;  they  bred  cattle,  and  also  sub- 
sisted by  the  cultivation  of  the  plant  dacha,  of  which  all  these 
tribes  were  very  fond.  They  were  said  to  be  far  richer  both  in 
men  and  cattle  than  the  Cochoqua.  They  were  divided  into  a 
number  of  dependent  hordes,  all  of  which  acknowledged  Sousa 
as  their  paramount.  In  1660  they  were  located  some  four  days' 
journey  from  the  fort  in  Table  VaUey,  in  1663  they  were  found 
about  thirty-one  miles  from  it,  behind  the  mountains  of  Hotten- 
tots Holland. 

Sousa  was  held  in  such  awe  by  those  of  other  clans  that  neither 
Oedasoa  nor  any  of  his  subjects  dared  come  to  trade  so  long  as 
he  remained  near  the  fort.     They  made  way  for  him,  and  waited 

244  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

upon  him  with  presents  of  many  cattle,  to  show  the  respect  they 
owed  to  the  highest  king.  That  his  authority  was  not  merely 
nominal  was  shown  by  the  fact  of  his  interference  in  a  quarrel 
between  Choro,  the  chief  of  the  'Kora-choqua,  and  Gonnema,  the 
captain  of  a  branch  of  the  Cochoqua.  They  had  parted  in  anger, 
the  former  having  cunningly  taken  away  the  wife  of  the  latter. 
War  was  imminent  between  them,  until  Sousa,  the  paramount 
chief,  interfered,  and  threatened  to  degrade  the  one  who  was  in 
the  wrong.  Such  an  acknowledgment  of  his  supremacy  by  the 
chiefs  of  the  other  Hottentot  tribes  would  make  it  seem  highly 
probable  that  the  one  over  which  he  ruled  represented  the  main 
trunk  of  the  Hottentot  race,  from  which  all  the  others  have  been 
offshoots.  In  that  case  the  Koranas  and  Griquas  of  the  present 
day  represent  the  descendants  of  the  Cochoqua  group  of  clans, 
and  the  Colonial  Hottentots  the  remains  of  the  other  tribes 

Another  powerful  tribe  was  the  Hessequa,  living  farther  north, 
but  to  the  westward  of  the  present  division  of  Swellendam. 
Their  language  was  so  different  from  that  of  the  Cochoqua  that 
they  could  only  communicate  through  Chainouqua  interpreters. 
This  fact  is  significant,  and  would  certainly  suggest  that  these 
Hessequa  were  not  true  Hottentots,  but  rather  either  a  mixed  race 
in  which  the  Bushman  element  so  much  predominated  that  its 
language  had  been  adopted  by  them,  or  else  a  purely  Bushman 
tribe.  The  additional  fact  that  these  people  were  frequently 
threatening  to  drive  the  Chainouqua  and  Goringhaiqua  out  of  the 
land  would  seem  to  indicate  that  the  latter  is  the  most  probable. 

The  tribes  living  to  the  eastward  were  said  to  be  the  Chamaqua, 
the  Omaqua,  the  Attaqua,  and  the  Cauqua.  AH  these,  like  the 
Hancumqua  or  Chainouqua,  were  rich  in  cattle,  planters  of  dacha, 
and  lived  in  mat  huts.  They  extended  from  the  north-east  of  the 
Hancumqua  to  the  sea  coast.  Their  cattle  were  those  called  the 
Namaqua,  or  long-horned  breed,  together  with  fat-tailed  sheep. 
They  used  pack-oxen  :  men  and  women  frequently  rode  together 
on  the  same  ox.  The  Attaqua  lived  On  both  sides  the  Langeberg, 
above  Mossel  Bay,  and  near  the  present  town  of  George,  hence 
Attaqua  Kloof. 

It  appears  certain  that  these  tribes  were  not  sufiiciently 
numerous  to  occupy  the  whole  country  ;  they  seem  rather  to  have 


formed  certain  centres  around  which  they  migrated,  with  con- 
siderable tracts  of  land  between  them  which  were  still  held  by  the 
original  owners  of  the  soil.  Thus  in  1662,  when  Cruythof,  during 
Commander  Wagenaar's  time,  tried  to  reach  Vigiti  Magna  and 
was  driven  back  by  the  Namaqua,  he  found  the  Sonqua  living 
between  these  tribes,  and  roving  about  like  banditti,  inhabiting 
mostly  the  mountains  and  doing  much  damage  to  their  neigh- 
bours. By  the  description  of  their  usage  of  bows  and  arrows 
there  can  be  no  doubt  that  they  were  Bushmen.  This  tribe  of 
Sonqua  was  subdued  by  the  Namaqua  in  1662. 

Besides  these  there  were  a  number  of  tribes,  such  as  the 
Strandloopers,  or  as  they  called  themselves  Goringhaicona,  who 
subsisted  only  by  fishing  on  the  sea-rocks.  It  seems,  however, 
almost  certain  that  these  different  hordes  were  the  representatives 
of  tribes  living  in  the  country  previous  to  the  arrival  of  the 
pastoral  Hottentots,  and  were  therefore  more  nearly  allied  to  the 
Bushmen  than  to  them,  even  if  some  of  them  were  not  the  rem- 
nants of  old  Bushman  tribes  that  had  been  dispossessed  by  the 

From  the  description  given  of  the  Goringhaicona  by  Oedasoa, 
the  chief  of  the  Cochoqua,  and  quoted  in  Van  Riebeek's  journal, 
these  people  would  seem  to  have  been  a  tribe  of  Bushmen  still 
clinging  to  the  rocks  of  the  Cape  peninsula.  He  stated  that  they 
never  remained  long  at  peace  with  any  one,  and  could  not  live 
without  robbing  and  murdering  ;  their  object  was  to  surprise 
one  tribe  or  the  other  when  at  the  weakest.  They  had  so  served 
him  when  he  had  been  defeated  by  other  tribes  from  the  interior, 
and  when  he  lay  with  his  few  remaining  people  and  cattle  in  his 
houses,  wounded  and  helpless,  his  people  scattered  in  flight  and 
concealed  here  and  there,  then  it  was  that  they  carried  off  his 
cattle  as  well  as  crueUy  murdered  all  who  could  not  offer  any 
resistance,  even  women  and  children. 

The  habits  here  described  are  so  at  variance  with  the  more 
indolent  mode  of  life  in  which  the  normal  Hottentot  was  so  prone 
to  indulge,  that  one  feels  almost  forced  to  the  conclusion  that 
these  marauders  must  have  belonged  to  the  more  energetic 
Bushman  race,  who  harboured  a  feeling  of  revenge  against  the 
pastoral  intruders  into  their  ancient  territories. 

Assertions  have   often   been   made  regarding  the  teeming 

246  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

Hottentot  population  of  the  southern  angle  of  the  African  conti- 
nent at  the  time  of  the  arrival  of  the  first  Dutch  settlers.  Such 
assertions  certainly  appear  very  wide  of  the  mark.  It  has  been 
stated  that  when  Van  Riebeek  landed  Oedasoa's  kraal  was 
about  half  a  day's  journey  from  the  fort,  that  its  position  could 
be  seen  across  the  bay,  and  that  he  was  encamped  there  with 
many  thousands  of  people.  The  number  both  of  the  people  and 
cattle  of  these  tribes  seems  frequently  much  exaggerated,  a 
thing  not  to  be  wondered  at  when  we  know  the  indefinite  ex- 
pressions used  by  them  to  express  large  numbers.  Many 
thousands  of  a  purely  pastoral  people,  whose  sole  means  of 
subsistence  was  their  cattle,  could  not  have  lived  together  in  one 
spot  in  such  a  country.  The  immense  size  of  the  herds  which 
would  be  required  for  their  support  would  destroy  the  pasturage, 
by  treading  it  under  foot,  before  it  could  be  grazed  off.  South 
Africa  has  afforded  fit  and  numerous  illustrations  of  this  destruc- 
tion of  the  herbage  in  the  formation  of  expeditionary  camps  or 
lagers,  and  the  loss  of  live  stock  which  follows  from  the  cause 
alluded  to  almost  as  a  necessary  consequence. 

There  is  not  in  fact  the  slightest  reliable  evidence  to  be  dis- 
covered that  the  Hottentots  were  ever  a  very  numerous  race. 
They  were  certainly  congregated  more  densely  from  the  Cape 
to  the  northward,  along  the  western  coast,  than  to  the  eastward 
of  that  promontory  ;  but  even  here  there  does  not  appear  to 
have  been  a  single  tribe  or  clan  capable  of  bringing  two  or  three 
thousand  men  into  the  field. 

The  idea  of  a  powerful  nation  in  the  Hottentot  mind  was 
exemplified  in  1874,  when  they  boasted  of  their  ability  to  drive 
the  white  man  from  the  Diamond  Fields.  The  most  powerful 
of  the  Korana  clans  never  exceeded  a  thousand,  and  they  con- 
sidered themselves  invincible  when  they  spoke  of  their  entire 
tribe  being  able  to  marshal  nearly  three  thousand  fighting  men. 
A  few  hundred  warrior-herdsmen  appears  to  be  the  maximum 
that  the  majority  of  the  Cape  tribes  cotild  muster. 

The  following  is  an  estimate  of  the  probable  strength  of  the 
various  Hottentot  tribes  near  the  Cape  at  the  time  of  the  landing 
of  Van  Riebeek  : — 

The  Cochoqua,  in  two  divisions,  one  under  Oedasoa,  the  other 
under  Gonnema,  1,000  men. 


The  'Gora  ('Kora)  chouqua,  under 'Choro,  600  or  700  men. 

The  httle  Chariguriqua  or  Grigriqua,  300  men. 

The  Goringhaiqua,  under  Gogosoa,  300  men. 

The  Goringhaikona,  under  Captain  Harry,  18  men. 

These  estimates  are  exclusive  of  women  and  children. 

Of  the  other  tribes  mentioned  in  the  early  records,  the 
numerical  strength  is  not  given,  but  the  Hancumqua  are  stated 
to  have  been  the  greatest  and  most  powerful  of  all  the  race  of 
greasy  Hottentots,  whom  Van  Riebeek  described  as  dull,  stupid, 
lazy,  stinking  people.  The  above,  however,  is  sufficient  to 
enable  us  to  arrive  at  some  approximate  conclusion  with  regard 
to  their  total  number.  The  five  Cape  tribes  mentioned  could 
furnish  2,268  men,  who  would  represent  a  mixed  population  of 
some  thirteen  or  fourteen  thousand  souls  ;  and  if  the  remaining 
tribes  averaged  as  many,  the  total  Hottentot  race  did  not  exceed 
thirty-five  or  forty  thousand  people.  As  it  is  more  than  probable 
that  in  the  confusion  of  the  descriptions  given  of  these  people 
by  the  early  settlers  some  Bushman  tribes  are  included  in  the 
list  of  names  quoted  by  them,  forty  thousand  may  be  above, 
rather  than  below  the  real  number. 

From  a  review  of  the  foregoing  facts,  it  would  seem  that  the 
following  deductions  may  be  drawn  : 

ist.  That  these  nomadic  tribes  were  few  in  number,  and 
were  evidently  constantly  on  the  move  from  place  to  place  in 
search  of  water  and  pasturage.  These  very  migrations  prove 
that  they  could  not  have  been  so  numerous  as  some  writers  have 
stated,  or  they  would  necessarily  have  come  into  frequent 
collision  with  one  another ;  but  the  fact  was  they  wandered 
about,  and  still  it  was  found  that  there  was  always  plenty  of 
room  to  spare,  showing  that  the  country,  except  in  a  few  favoured 
localities,  was  very  sparsely  populated.  As  an  illustration  of 
this  constant  habit  of  migrating,  Oedasoa  removed  from  Table 
Bay  to  Saldanha  Bay,  in  search  of  pasture,  and  on  his  arrival 
there  found  the  Grigriqua  and  Korachoqua  had  migrated  thence 
to  the  interior  for  the  same  purpose. 

2nd.  That  at  the  time  of  their  discovery  the  Hottentot 
tribes  had  only  comparatively  recently  arrived  at  the  southern 
extremity  of  the  continent,  which  is  demonstrated  by  the  fact 
that  the  original  inhabitants  not  only  still  remained  a  distinct 


people,  but  were  not  yet  conquered,  even  in  the  Cape  district 
itself.  Thus  we  find  that  there  were  continual  hostilities  between 
them  and  the  Bushmen,  or  Sonqua.  Van  Riebeek,  in  his  Journal, 
writmg  of  these  Bushmen  or  Sonqua,  says  they  never  had  any 
other  means  of  subsistence  than  plunder,  their  stock  was  not 
their  own,  but  robbed  from  the  Cochoqua  and  others,  who  on 
that  account  pursued  them  on  every  opportunity,  and  on  coming 
up  with  them  put  them  to  death  without  mercy.  They  also 
plundered  many  people,  not  only  of  their  cattle,  but  of  their 
women,  which  robbery  and  abduction  were  much  practised  in 
war  by  aU  these  tribes. 

3rd.  That  the  migration  of  these  Hottentots  through  such 
a  country,  and  with  such  inhabitants,  must  have  been  a  very 
slow  onward  movement,  and  that  no  rapid  acquisitions  of  terri- 
tory could  have  been  made  by  them,  both  their  own  character 
and  the  formidable  obstacles  presented  by  the  natural  features 
of  the  coimtry  forbidding  any  other  conclusion.  It  is  quite 
certain  that  all  the  great  mountain  passes  and  fastnesses  were 
in  the  hands  of  the  aboriginal  race  at  the  time  of  their  arrival, 
and  there  must  have  been  a  long  struggle  before  even  the  barrier 
of  the  Hottentots  Holland  mountains  could  have  been  passed 
to  the  eastward.  When  we  reflect  upon  the  great  stress  which 
is  ever5nvhere  laid  upon  the  mildness  and  amiability  of  the 
Hottentot  character  in  the  olden  time,  we  shall  at  once  recognise 
how  little  fitted  these  herdsmen  must  have  been,  trammelled  as 
they  were  with  the  safe-keeping  of  their  flocks  and  herds,  to  have 
broken  through  such  cordons  of  energetic  and  intrepid  Bushmen 
as  those  who  held  the  formidable  and  almost  impregnable  moun- 
tain barriers.  The  difficulty  they  had  in  overcoming  these 
obstacles  will  become  more  and  more  apparent  as  we  proceed 
with  our  investigation. 

And  now  before  proceeding  to  the  second  head  of  our  inquiry, 
the  fourth  conclusion  to  which  we  are  led  is  that  these  Cape 
tribes  were  neither  all  annihilated,  nor  reduced  to  serfdom,  but 
that  a  considerable  number  fled  from  the  danger  which  threatened 
them  and  migrated  to  the  north  and  north-east,  and  that  their 
descendants  are  now  to  be  found  amongst  the  present  Koranas 
and  Griquas. 

Chapter  XIV 


It  is  quite  evident  that  when  the  Hottentot  race  commenced 
its  southern  migration  along  the  western  coast  about  the  end  of 
the  fourteenth  century,  the  tribes  did  not  move  onward  in  a 
dense  body,  but,  as  in  every  other  native  migration  we  have 
been  able  to  trace,  one  tribe  or  group  of  clans  followed  the  other 
in  a  straggUng,  scattered  manner,  some  lingering  in  the  rear 
while  others  were  pushing  on  in  front  like  the  advanced  guard 
of  the  main  body  ;  and  we  find  from  the  report  of  the  voyage  of 
the  Bode  in  1677  that  some  of  these  loiterers  were  still  to  be 
found  as  far  to  the  north  as  12°  47'  lat.  S. 

We  will  on  the  present  occasion  only  consider  those  tribes 
which  are  now  found  along  the  west  coast,  viz.  {a)  the  Namaqua, 
(i)  the  Berg  Damaras,  (c)  the  Ovaherero  or  Damaras,  and  {d)  the 

The  Namaqua. 

This  tribe  of  Hottentots  was  at  one  time  found  much  farther 
to  the  southward  than  at  present,  as  in  the  first  days  of  the 
Dutch  settlement  they  were  the  neighbours  of  the  Grigriqua  and 
Cochoqua.  The  latter  people  informed  the  Commander  Van 
Riebeek  that  they  were  Hottentots  like  themselves,  dressed  in 
skins,  hving  in  mat  huts,  and  subsisting  on  cattle.  They  were 
described  as  being  men  of  tall  stature,  they  were  armed  with 
bows  and  assagais,  and  their  breasts  were  protected  by  a  large 
piece  of  dry  hide  like  a  gorget  or  breastplate,  which  neither 
assagai  nor  arrow  could  penetrate.  They  also  used  shields  in 
war,  and  thus  in  defensive  armour  had  made  a  considerable 
advance  upon  the  more  primitive  mode  of  fighting  still  retained 
by  the  Cape  tribes.  They  were  at  that  time  advancing  towards 
the  south,  but  such  was  the  niunber  of  their  fiocks  and  herds 

250  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

that  they  could,  although  divided  into  four  camps,  migrate  but 

Their  near  approach  gave  rise  to  a  succession  of  disputes  and 
skirmishes  between  themselves  and  the  Cochoqua.  After  this 
they  appear  again  to  have  fallen  back,  for  in  1659  a  bartering 
party  of  the  Dutch  advanced  as  far  as  the  lower  Oliphant's 
river,  when  they  heard  of  the  Namaqiia  living  seven  or  eight 
days'  journey  north  of  where  they  then  were.  In  1661  Van 
Meerhof  visited  them.  The  foremost  of  them  he  met  near  the 
site  of  the  present  town  of  Clanwilliam,  the  greater  part  of  the 
remainder  were  then  located  around  the  Khamiesbergen.  He 
described  them,  after  seeing  tribes  of  smaller  made  Hottentots 
near  the  Cape,  as  half  giants.  Their  chief  Akembi  treated  both 
him  and  his  party  very  kindly,  and  Van  Meerhof  succeeded  in 
negotiating  a  peace  between  them  and  the  Cochoqua.  This  was 
done  from  no  particular  love  for  the  natives,  but  in  order  to 
facilitate  their  own  trade. 

The  lucrative  character  of  this  bartering  may  be  surmised, 
and  the  anxiety  of  the  Dutch  to  extend  it  will  be  understood 
when  we  learn  that  in  the  early  days  of  this  traffic  a  bottle  of 
brandy  worth  sixpence  was  considered  the  fair  value  of  an  ox 
in  their  exchanges  with  the  natives.  AU  the  Dutch  sought  for 
in  those  days  was  the  cattle  of  the  natives,  with  which  the 
latter,  who  had  but  few  wants  and  loved  their  herds,  were  fre- 
quently very  reluctant  to  part.  Whatever  expeditions  were 
undertaken  into  the  interior  were  to  carry  out  this  one  object, 
and  none  other.  The  same  one-sided  way  of  bartering  appears  to 
have  continued  until  1685,  when  the  Governor,  Van  der  Stel, 
visited  the  Namaqua  clans  himself,  hoping  in  his  progress  to 
discover  gold  or  silver,  and  to  reach  Vigiti  Magna.  But  he  failed 
to  attain  either  of  these  objects.  He  displayed  such  an  amount 
of  overbearing  cruelty  towards  the  victimized  Namaqua  that 
they  rose  in  self-defence,  and  he  was  forced  to  make  a  somewhat 
hasty  retreat. 

This  uncalled  for  ill-treatment  laid  the  foundation  of  future 
troubles,  and  in  1689  the  Namaqua  came  down  frequently  with 
hostile  intentions  as  far  as  the  Berg  and  Twenty-four  rivers. 
No  other  inhabitants  were  then  found  in  the  wide  extent  of 
country  between  the  grazing  grounds  of  the  Cape  tribes  and  the 

THE    TRIBES    OF    THE    WEST    COAST  251 

Great  river  except  these  Namaqua  hordes  and  the  groups  of 
Bushmen  who  were  its  original  proprietors.  Even  as  late  as 
1797,  when  the  boundary  of  the  Colony  extended  as  far  as  the 
Onder  Bokkeveld,  Barrow  found  that  the  wild  and  almost  iin- 
known  country  beyond  was  inhabited  by  Bushmen  alone,  showing 
that  the  Hottentots  in  their  southern  migrations  always  kept 
within  a  certain  zone,  extending  parallel  with  the  coast  line.  In 
travelling  through  the  country  beyond  this,  a  strong  escort  was 
required  as  a  protection  against  the  irate  savages. 

In  1797  the  Namaqua  were  found  to  be  possessed  only  of 
flocks  of  sheep  and  goats,  their  great  herds  of  cattle  had  already 
disappeared.  At  one  time  in  the  country  between  the  Khamies- 
berg  and  the  Orange  river  numerous  tribes  of  Namaqua  possessing 
vast  herds  of  cattle  used  to  live,  who  dug  deep  wells  in  the  beds 
of  the  periodical  streams,  and  covered  them  over  to  prevent 
evaporation.  But  at  the  time  of  Barrow's  visit  the  country  was 
desolate  and  uninhabited.  In  less  than  a  century  the  original 
inhabitants  had  dwindled  to  four  hordes,  who  were  in  a  great 
measure  subservient  to  the  Dutch. 

The  Namaqua  like  the  Kaffirs  always  paid  the  greatest 
attention  to  their  cattle,  and  like  the  latter  had  a  fashion  of 
giving  artificial  directions  to  the  horns  of  their  oxen,  the 
Namaqua,  however,  confining  the  shape  of  the  horns  to  a  spiral 
line  something  like  those  of  the  koodoo.  This  custom  seems  to 
have  been  a  very  wide-spread  one,  not  only  among  these  tribes 
of  Hottentots,  but  also  among  the  Amaxosa,  Amampondo,  Ama- 
zulu,  and  even  some  of  the  tribes  to  the  north  of  the  Kalahari 
and  towards  Ngami.  The  same  method  of  ornamenting  their 
cattle  was  practised  by  some  of  the  inhabitants  of  Northern 
Africa  in  very  ancient  times,  a  fact  which  is  found  depicted  in 
some  of  the  old  Egyptian  paintings. 

The  Namaqua  women  were  remarkable  for  the  same  promi- 
nences of  body  as  those  before  noticed  belonging  to  other  tribes. 
Some  of  the  younger  women,  although  they  had  figures  which 
might  have  been  considered  elegant,  had  the  same  conformation 
of  certain  parts  of  the  body  as  the  Bushwomen  and  the  other 
Hottentots,  yet  it  was  in  a  less  degree  than  is  usual  in  the 
former,  though  more  so  than  in  those  of  the  latter.  In  women 
who  had  borne  children  the  breasts  were  disgustingly  large  and 


pendent,  the  usual  way  of  giving  suck  to  a  child  when  carried 
on  the  back  was  either  by  throwing  one  of  them  over  or  under 
the  shoulder.  In  this  way  they  agree  with  the  Latin  satirist's 
description  of  Ethiopian  women  on  the  borders  of  Egypt.  In 
the  women  of  ancient  Egypt  enormous  protuberances  of  body 
were  very  common,  and  have  been  attempted  to  be  accounted 
for  by  various  authors  from  a  variety  of  causes.  The  men  of 
this  particular  tribe,  however,  were  taller  in  stature  than  the 
tribes  farther  to  the  south,  and  less  robust. 

The  ancient  weapons  of  the  Namaqua  were  like  those  of  the 
other  Hottentot  tribes,  the  bow  and  arrow.  The  country  for- 
merly abounded  with  elands,  hartebeests,  gemsboks,  quaggas, 
and  zebras,  together  with  the  giraffe,  rhinoceros,  and  great 
numbers  of  beasts  of  prey.  In  allusion  to  the  great  diminution 
in  the  quantity  of  their  game,  and  the  loss  of  their  cattle,  an  old 
Namaqua  woman  who  was  asked  by  the  traveller  Thompson  if 
she  could  remember  the  first  arrival  of  the  Christians  amongst 
them,  replied  that  she  had  good  reason  for  remembering  it,  for 
whereas  before  they  came  she  knew  not  the  want  of  a  fuU  meal, 
it  was  now  a  difficult  thing  to  get  a  mouthful !  This  individual 
was  the  oldest  woman  met  with  among  the  natives,  and  produced 
a  daughter  who  headed  five  generations. 

In  1797  the  Namaqua  in  their  reduced  condition  were  in  great 
dread  of  the  Bushmen.  They  represented  these  as  such  a  cruel, 
bloodthirsty  race  of  people,  that  they  never  spared  the  life  of 
any  living  thing  that  feU  into  their  hands.  And  the  Namaqua 
stated  that  even  to  their  own  countrymen  who  had  taken  up 
their  residence  with  the  Dutch,  they  behaved  with  atrocious 
cruelty.  These  poor  wretches  when  retaken  by  their  countrymen 
were  generally  put  to  the  most  excruciating  tortures.  A  party 
of  Bushmen,  so  the  Namaqua  informed  Barrow,  living  in  that 
part  of  the  country,  having  captured  a  Namaqua  Hottentot,  set 
him  up  to  the  neck  in  a  deep  trench,  and  wedged  him  so  fast  with 
stones  and  earth  that  he  was  incapable  of  moving.  In  this 
position  he  remained  the  whole  night  and  part  of  the  next  day, 
when  he  was  discovered  and  liberated  by  some  of  his  companions. 
The  unfortunate  fellow  declared  that  he  had  been  under  the 
necessity  of  keeping  his  eyes  and  mouth  in  perpetual  motion  the 
whole  day  to  prevent  the  vultures  from  devouring  him. 


From  what  can  be  gathered  of  the  condition  of  the  Bushmen 
in  an  undisturbed  state,  one  cannot  help  suspecting  that  fearful 
cruelties  must  have  been  frequently  committed  by  the  intruding 
Hottentot  tribes  upon  the  aboriginal  inhabitants  of  this  portion 
of  South  Africa,  and  thus  roused  in  their  breasts  this  feeling  of 
bitter  revenge. 

In  1813,  at  the  time  of  the  Rev.  J.  Campbell's  first  visit  to  the 
country,  few  of  these  people  were  left  in  Little  Namaqualand 
except  such  as  had  congregated  in  the  neighbourhood  of  PeUa, 
near  the  left  bank  of  the  Orange  river.  Here  the  principal 
inhabitants  of  the  place  were  the  Namaqua,  of  whom  one  hundred 
and  seventy-four  were  men,  two  hundred  and  three  women, 
twenty-two  young  men,  forty-six  young  women,  and  one  hundred 
and  ninety-one  children.  They  lived  in  low  circular  huts,  like 
the  Koranas,  composed  of  long  rods,  or  withes,  stuck  into  the 
ground  at  both  ends,  with  mats  made  of  rushes  fastened  over 
them.  They  differed  from  the  Koranas  in  this,  that  in  the  inside 
they  dug  about  a  foot  or  a  foot  and  a  half  into  the  ground,  in 
which  they  slept,  to  protect  them,  as  they  said,  from  the  wind. 
They  lived  entirely  on  their  cattle,  and  having  no  trade  and  few 
wants,  seemed  to  spend  most  of  their  time  in  groups  conversing 
together.  These  people  were  under  two  captains,  named  Owib 
and  his  son  Bundelzwart ;  there  was  also  another  called  Vleger- 
muis  (the  Bat).  Few  of  them  were  tall.  They  were  generally 
of  slender  make,  and  were  a  timid  people. 

The  Namaqua  country  extended  along  the  sea  coast  as  far  as 
the  Damara. 

The  tribes  to  the  north  of  the  Orange  river  possessed  in 
abundance  homed  cattle,  sheep,  and  goats,  which  were  assigned 
to  the  care  of  the  children  and  boys.  The  women  made  the  mats 
of  rushes  for  covering  their  huts,  milked  the  cows,  the  same  as 
with  the  Koranas,  built  the  huts,  and  dug  roots  for  food.  When 
they  married,  the  husband  gave  cattle  to  the  parents  of  the 
female  and  also  slaughtered  some  for  a  feast.  They  danced  to 
music  from  flutes  made  of  reeds  and  roots  of  the  camel-thorn 
tree,  and  used  drums  made  of  skins.  Two  parties  often  had  a 
set  fight,  those  who  conquered  seized  the  cows  of  their  opponents 
and  drank  their  milk,  after  which  they  returned  them.  The 
men  manufactured  wooden  vessels  for  holding  milk,  and  bowls. 

254  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

assagais,  rings,  axes,  and  knives  ;  they  also  dressed  hides  and 
dug  wells.  Their  numbers  had  been  reduced  by  wars  of  former 
times  and  broils  among  themselves. 

Their  wars  generally  originated  in  disputes  about  cattle,  in 
which  their  chief  wealth  consisted,  and  frequently  in  one  tribe 
boasting  its  superiority  over  another,  which  rousing  the  pride 
and  rage  of  the  party  insulted,  they  flew  to  arms  to  ascertain 
which  tribe  was  the  strongest.  Their  object  in  war  was  to  rob 
each  other  of  cattle,  and  this  gave  rise  to  their  fighting  ;  their 
battles  were  almost  always  in  the  vicinity  of  their  cattle-kraals. 
If  they  took  prisoners,  some  of  these  were  killed,  others  liberated. 
It  was  rarely  that  a  Namaqua  left  his  own  country  even  on  a 
temporary  visit  to  another.  Those  who  lived  in  the  neighbour- 
hood of  the  Great  river  in  1813  were  in  a  state  of  perpetual 
terror  of  that  irrepressible  marauder  Africaander,  the  least  rising 
of  dust  or  sand  excited  great  consternation,  as  they  felt  sure  that 
Africaander  was  coming  against  them.  In  1823  the  number  of 
the  Namaqua  had  stiU  further  diminished  to  the  south  of  the 
Orange  river  ;  by  that  time  all  who  could  escape  across  the 
stream  had  done  so,  and  were  then  living  to  the  north  of  it. 

The  Namaqua,  like  the  rest  of  their  race,  were  divided  into  a 
variety  of  separate  clans  governed  by  a  chief  whose  authority 
was  very  circumscribed  and  precarious.  The  existence  of  such 
a  number  of  subdivisions  to  the  north  of  the  Orange  river  would 
suggest  the  idea  that  in  addition  to  those  who  managed  to  escape 
from  the  pressure  of  the  advancing  Europeans  by  recrossing  it, 
some  portion  of  them  had  in  all  probability  always  remained 
there,  and  thus  preserved  the  herds  of  cattle  which  were  so  much 
coveted  by  the  Dutch. 

In  the  south,  those  who  had  remained  behind  in  the  kraals 
bordering  on  the  Colony  had  been  long  ago  exterminated  or 
reduced  into  servitude  by  the  Boers.  Thompson  found  only  one 
independent  tribe  of  these  people  living  to  the  southward  of  the 
Orange  at  a  place  called  t'Kams,  near  Pella.  This  Pella,  which  we 
have  before  mentioned,  had  become  one  of  the  landmarks  in  the 
history  of  the  Koks  and  their  Griqua  followers,  as  it  was  from 
this  spot  that  they  started  upon  their  migrations  to  the  eastward 
along  the  valley  of  the  Orange  river.  The  features  of  the  locality 
were  striking  and  characteristic.     Pella  was  described  as  standing 

THE    TRIBES    OF   THE   WEST   COAST  255 

at  the  foot  of  the  Kaabas  mountains,  which  rose  in  frowning 
grandeur  ahnost  perpendicularly  to  the  height  of  about  two 
thousand  feet.  It  was  about  half  an  hour's  walk  from  the 
'Gariep,  which  flowed  through  a  narrow  rocky  pass,  forming  a 
rapid  between  the  two  opposing  ranges. 

It  was  here  that  Thompson  visited  the  last  of  the  Namaqua 
tribes  left  to  the  south  of  the  river.  They  were  called  Obseses,. 
i.e.  the  Bees,  from  a  species  which  associates  amicably  with  the 
common  sort,  a  name  probably  adopted  from  the  fact  that  this- 
horde  was  formed  by  the  association  of  the  fragmentary  portions 
of  a  number  of  those  which  had  been  previously  broken  up  and 
scattered.  ^ 

These  people,  in  common  with  every  one  else  who  unfortu- 
nately fell  within  the  reach  of  the  ruthless  Africaander,  suffered 
many  atrocities  at  his  hands  and  were  plundered  of  much  of 
their  cattle.  We  will  however  defer  our  remarks  upon  this- 
point  until  we  examine  more  fully  into  the  career  of  the  notorious. 
Africaander  himself,  and  the  influence  his  advent  into  the  country 
had  in  giving  an  impetus  to  the  migrations  of  several  other 
tribes.  The  sufferings  however  which  the  Namaqua  endured 
both  on  this  and  on  previous  occasions  had  no  effect  in  teaching 
them  forbearance  to  those  whom  they  found  weaker  than  them- 
selves, and  whom  they  attacked  in  their  turn  ;  and  it  cannot  be 
questioned  but  that  they  were  guilty  of  acts  of  equal  barbarity, 
not  only  upon  the  Bushmen,  but  also  upon  the  Ovaherero,  or 
Damara  clans,  living  to  the  north  of  them. 

The  Namaqua,  like  the  kindred  Korana  tribes,  were  ever 
making  forays  upon  their  weaker  neighbours,  and  of  the  deliberate 
cruelty  practised  by  them  in  some  of  these  cattle  raids  upon  the 
unoffending  Ovaherero  there  is  abundant  evidence.  In  one 
that  has  been  recorded,  an  unfortunate  Damara  lad  stated  that 
these  Hottentots,  after  shooting  his  parents,  had  invariably 
mingled  his  scanty  rations  of  milk  with  wood  ashes  before  they 
allowed  him  to  drink  it.  This  treatment  was  continued  to  the 
last  possible  stage  of  starvation,  when  he  managed  to  escape  by 
crawling  away.  Baines  gives  other  instances  of  still  greater 
atrocity.     In  a  foray  near  Bokberg,  a  Herero  cattle  herd  having 

^  One  of  the  Namaqua  clans  north  of  the  Orange  was  called  Kanna- 
maparrisip,  or  the  veldschoen  wearers. 

256  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

been  caught  in  the  kraal  by  them,  these  Namaqua  marauders 
cut  off  both  his  hands_at  the  wrists.  At  Barmen  Baines  saw 
several  hapless  women,  who  had  been  mercilessly  crippled  in 
some  of  these  cattle  raids  by  the  same  inhuman  wretches,  who 
had  cut  off  their  feet'as  the  easiest  way  of  obtaining  their  iron 
anklets  ! 

As  the  Namaqua  have  always  clung  to  the  zone  of  coast  land 
into  which  their  forefathers  migrated,  and  as  they  retreated 
northward  along  the  same  line  when  the  irresistible  pressure 
from  the  south  prevented  aU  further  progress  in  an  opposite 
direction,  their  movements  did  not  have  such  an  effect  in 
accelerating  the  annihilation  of  the  old  Bushman  race  as  those 
of  the  tribes  that  sought  an  asylum  in  the  interior  of  the  country 
and  therefore  invaded  the  very  heart  of  the  widespread  domains 
of  the  ancient  aborigines.  This  retrograde  movement  of  the 
Namaqua,  which  they  were  able  to  carry  into  effect  without 
trenching  upon  the  claims  of  any  other  emigrant  tribes,  seems 
to  demonstrate  the  additional  fact  that  a  considerable  interval 
of  time  elapsed  between  the  southern  migration  of  the  Hottentot 
hordes  and  those  who  followed  upon  their  trail,  and  that  for  a 
long  period  an  extensive  tract  of  unusurped  Bushman  territory 
intervened  between  them,  until  the  receding  wave  of  the  nomadic 
Namaqua  rolled  over  the  space  and  broke  in  restless  depredations 
upon  the  once  distant  boundaries  of  the  Ovaherero. 

The  following  tribes,  although  they  do  not  belong  to  the 
Hottentot  family,  may  yet  be  conveniently  considered  in  this 
place,  as  these  tribes  on  the  western  coast  afford  us  a  clearer 
illustration  of  the  sequence  in  which  the  migration  of  the  various 
tribes  to  the  south  took  place  than  those  of  the  central,  eastern, 
and  south-eastern  portion  of  the  continent,  where  they  have 
been  frequently  huddled  together  and  mixed  up  most  confusedly 
by  the  occurrence  of  wide  extended  native  wars. 

The  Berg-Damaras. 
These  people  most  probably  represent  the  pioneer  tribes  of 
the  dark-coloured  races  that  first  followed  upon  the  trail  of  the 
yellow-skins.  They  seem  to  possess  a  mixture  of  affinities,  the 
counterparts  of  which  among  other  people  are  only  to  be  found 
in  distinct  races  that  have  no  present  connexion  with  each  other 

THE   TRIBES    OF   THE   WEST    COAST  257 

Thus,  whilst  they  possess  the  physical  characteristics  of  the 
Bantu  nations,  and  are  as  a  rule  even  blacker  than  the  Ovaherero, 
and  although  they  are  as  different  in  colour  and  stature  from  the 
Hottentots  as  it  is  possible  for  two  races  to  be,  still  we  find  the 
remarkable  fact  that  one  language  is  common  to  both  peoples. 
The  territory  which  the  Namaqua  inhabit  is  entirely  separate 
from  that  of  the  Berg-Damara,  still  none  the  less  is  the  language 
of  both  nations  the  same.  The  difference  between  the  Namaqua 
and  Korana  dialects  is  greater  than  that  between  the  language 
of  the  Namaqua  and  Berg-Damara. 

But  these  people  are  neither  pastoral  like  the  nomadic  Hotten- 
tot hordes,  nor  are  they  agricultural  like  many  of  the  more 
advanced  of  the  Bantu  nations  ;  they  inhabit  the  rock-shelters 
of  the  mountains,  or  build  small  temporary  huts  in  concealed 
positions  like  the  Bushmen.  They  carry  the  same  weapons  as  the 
Bushmen,  a  bow  and  quiver  of  arrows  ;  the  iron  points  for  war 
and  poisoned  arrows  are  quite  like  those  of  the  Bushmen.  Besides 
these,  they  have  arrows  without  iron  points  for  kiUing  guinea 
fowls  and  other  small  game.  These  are  the  weapons  of  those 
who  remain  unsubdued  in  the  Waterberg,  and  therefore  in  all 
probabiHty  the  ancient  arms  of  their  race  ;  while  the  men  of  the 
clans  that  have  been  partially  subjugated  by  the  neighbouring 
tribes  are  mostly  armed  with  a  miserable  spear  with  an  iron  point, 
which  is  often  only  about  the  length  of  a  finger,  and  a  stick  hardly 
four  or  five  feet  long,  together  with  one  or  two  rude  kerries,  i.e. 
a  stick  a  foot  and  a  half  long  with  the  thick  root  end  as  the  knob. 
These  are  chiefly  employed  as  throwing  weapons.  Here  then 
we  find  in  this  one  race  distinctive  features  which  characterize 
the  other  three,  stiU,  notwithstanding  these  separate  points  of 
similarity,  the  Berg-Damara  are  a  nation  by  themselves,  and 
apparently  quite  distinct  from  the  Ovaherero,  the  Namaqua,  and 
the  Bushmen. 

Their  number  is  estimated  at  about  thirty  thousand.  They 
inhabit  the  mountainous  parts  in  the  south-west,  west,  and  north- 
west of  Hereroland,  that  is  to  say  the  mountains  between  Reho- 
both  and  Otyimbingue,  to  the  westward  as  far  as  is  habitable, 
the  Erongo  mountains,  the  Etyo  mountains,  and  the  Waterberg, 
and  to  the  north  and  north-west  half  way  to  Ondonga  ;  how  far 
they  live  in  the  interior  is  unknown.     They  have  not,  however, 


258  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

been  found  in  the  hunting  veld  of  the  Bushmen  to  the  east.  Of 
their  pohtical  condition  very  httle  is  known.  In  individual 
families  the  house-father  is  the  natural  head,  but  for  the  rest  it 
appears  that  every  one  who  can  provide  for  his  sustenance  can 
have  his  own  way  of  doing  and  leaving  undone  what  he  likes. 
To  the  north  of  the  Waterberg,  however,  a  few  chiefs  have 
apparently  authority  over  several  thousand  people. 

From  the  extremely  slight  cohesion  of  this  nation,  it  is  also 
to  be  Explained  why  it  hardly  ever  comes  forward  as  acting 
independently.  Although  enslaved,  robbed,  and  murdered  on 
all  sides,  somehow  it  never  gathers  its  strength  to  go  against  its 
enemies.  And  yet  such  an  undertaking  might  prove  very  dan- 
gerous to  its  oppressors,  for  the  nation  is  numerous,  and  in 
possession  of  the  mountains,  the  natural  strongholds  of  the 
country.  Instead,  however,  of  thus  combining  for  defence,  at 
most  a  family  when  attacked  will  attempt  resistance.  In  the 
wars  between  the  Namaqua  and  Ovaherero,  the  Berg-Damara 
are  found  on  either  side,  being  employed  on  that  of  the  Namaqua 
as  spies  and  accomplices,  following  for  the  sake  of  booty.  Dacha 
smoking  seems  to  have  sapped  the  last  vestige  of  energy  out  of 
these  people  in  the  Waterberg. 

As  regards  the  mode  of  living  among  the  Berg-Damara,  it  is 
to  be  remarked  that  it  is  the  very  meanest  imaginable.  Few  of 
them  possess  cattle  of  any  description,  at  most  they  try  to  get  a 
few  goats,  all  the  remaining  cattle  which  falls  into  their  hands  is 
eaten  up  at  once,  on  which  occasions  they  can  consume  a  very 
large  quantity  of  meat.  Although  they  are  as  little  herdsmen  as 
hunters,  they  kill  all  the  game  they  can,  and  for  this  purpose 
spare  no  trouble  in  making  pitfalls,  immense  abattis  into  which 
they  drive  the  game,  as  well  as  now  and  then  organizing  a  chase. 
Such  is  only  the  case,  however,  when  game  fortunately  happens  to 
be  in  the  neighbourhood  of  their  dweUing  places.  They  do  not, 
like  the  Bushmen  or  Hottentots,  follow  up  the  game  with  any 
earnestness,  or  undertake  distant  hunting  expeditions  for  the 
sake  of  capturing  it.  Veld-kost,  i.e.  everything  which  is  eatable 
and  procurable  in  the  desert,  is  their  ordinary  sustenance.  All 
these  things  are  sought  for  and  gathered,  and,  whenever  possible, 
a  considerable  store  for  bad  times  is  kept  on  hand. 

Their  principal  nourishment  is  locusts  and  uintjes.    When  the 

THE   TRIBES    OF   THE   WEST    COAST  259 

locust  season  comes,  their  time  of  harvest  arrives,  and  when  the 
country  is  being  devastated  by  locusts  the  Berg-Damara  rejoices, 
for  the  time  has  arrived  when  he  is  able  without  much  trouble  or 
exertion  to  fill  his  belly  to  his  heart's  content.  The  locusts  which 
are  caught  are  roasted  at  the  fire,  and  crushed  into  powder, 
which  can  be  preserved  in  this  state  for  a  long  time.  Besides 
these  two  chief  articles  of  food,  there  are  many  other  things 
which  afford  a  Uving  to  the  Berg-Damara  ;  here  he  finds  a  nest  of 
wild  bees,  there  he  digs  up  an  anthiU  to  rob  the  industrious  little 
creatures  of  their  winter  provision  of  grass  seeds  ;  the  thorn 
tree  offers  its  gum,  all  sorts  of  berries,  which  chiefly  consist  of 
skin  and  kernel,  aU  kinds  of  thick  caterpillars  are  collected, 
mouse  holes  are  dug  up,  and  in  general  all  that  can  be  chewed  or 
digested  forms  the  food  of  the  omnivorous  Berg-Damara. 

They  Uve  in  bush  huts  of  a  very  peculiar  form,  somewhat  in 
the  shape  of  a  cone.  A  few  long  poles  whose  points  meet  together 
form  the  framework,  and  over  and  through  these  as  much  bush- 
work  is  put  as  wiU  form  at  least  a  shelter  just  big  enough  for  a 
fire  near  the  entrance  and  sleeping  places  for  the  family.  The 
household  furniture  is  likewise  simple.  Earthen  pots  are  manu- 
factured by  rolling  out  clay  to  slender  sausage-like  sticks  and 
laying  them  in  a  spiral  form  so  as  to  construct  the  sides,  then  the 
half  dried  wall  is  stroked  smooth  with  the  hands.  They  may  have 
a  few  wooden  buckets  and  bowls,  the  last  always  of  an  oval  shape, 
and  probably  a  wooden  mortar,  i.e.  the  tnmk  of  a  tree  hollowed 
out,  in  which  the  locusts  and  uintjes  are  pounded  with  a  wooden 

Although  it  would  be  incorrect  to  say  that  they,  like  the 
Bachoana  and  Basutu  tribes,  were  agriculturists,  they  seem  to 
display  incipient  germs  in  the  art  of  cultivation,  as  wherever  a 
secure  spot  offers  suitable  soU  and  water  for  a  smaU  garden,  they 
take  advantage  of  the  situation  and  plant  tobacco,  dacha,  pump- 
kins, and  melons.  In  this  respect  they  far  surpass  the  Ovaherero 
and  the  Namaqua. 

The  covering  of  the  men  is  a  belt,  with  a  piece  of  skin  in  front 
and  another  behind  like  an  apron.  The  aprons  of  women  are 
generally  adorned  with  small  strings,  aU  kinds  of  beads,  buttons, 
and  small  bones.  A  peculiar  custom  is  that  the  women,  even 
during  the  greatest  heat  of  the  summer,  carry  about  with  them 

26o  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

all  the  skins  and  skin  rugs  they  possess,  so  that  they  may  be 
always  prepared  for  flight.  It  is  from  this  cause  that  the  women 
of  even  the  poorest  class  amongst  them  are  wrapped  in  furs,  as 
among  the  Greenlanders.  Similar  to  most  of  the  Bushmen,  the 
Tambukis,  and  a  few  other  tribes,  these  people  mutilate  their 
hands  by  cutting  off  the  first  joint  of  one  of  their  Uttle  fingers. 
There  are  certain  families  among  them  that  cut  out  one  testicle 
of  every  male  child. 

The  Ovaherero  take  away  the  children  of  the  Berg-Damara. 
The  revenge  which  the  Berg-Damara  takes  is  to  seize  and  slaughter 
the  cattle  of  the  Ovaherero.  The  first  is  a  very  trifling  error  in 
the  eyes  of  the  Ovaherero,  whereas  they  look  upon  the  second 
as  a  grievous  crime,  quite  like  murder.  In  these  thefts  the  Berg- 
Damara  have  a  great  advantage  over  their  pitiless  enemies  the 
Ovaherero,  in  being  accustomed  to  the  rough  life  of  mountaineers, 
and  thus  easily  escaping  from  the  pursuing  commandos  which  are 
sent  after  them.  As  mountain  climbers  they  are  not  excelled 
by  any  other  tribe  in  the  country,  and  thus  with  their  hard  feet 
they  pass  rapidly  over  the  rocks  and  leave  their  disappointed 
persecutors  far  in  the  rear.  From  the  smaUness  and  bushlike 
appearance  of  their  houses,  and  as  their  situation  is  not  betrayed 
by  the  lowing  of  cattle,  it  is  no  easy  task  without  the  assistance 
of  a  special  guide  to  discover  their  position,  especially  as  they  are 
generally  concealed  in  some  nook  of  the  mountains.  The 
Ovaherero  make  short  work  with  those  who  fall  into  their  hands  : 
the  full-grown  are  murdered,  and  the  children  are  reduced  to 
abject  slavery. 

Notwithstanding  they  omit  no  opportunity  of  plundering 
their  bitter  enemies,  no  particular  malignity  of  character  is 
ascribed  to  them.  Much,  however,  cannot  be  said  in  praise  of 
their  morality.  Polygamy  is  the  order  of  the  day,  and  each  has 
as  many  wives  as  wiU  stay  with  him.  The  man  has  undoubtedly 
the  same  right  to  put  away  the  wife  as  the  wife  has  to  leave  the 
husband,  and  if  one  person  feels  himself  stronger  than  another  he 
wiU  consider  himself  perfectly  at  hberty  to  take  away  by  force 
any  female  to  whom  he  takes  a  fancy. 

Among  their  peculiar  customs,  the  men,  although  such 
universal  feeders,  do  not  eat  hares.  The  reason  given  for  this  is 
an  old  story  of  the  hare  and  the  moon.     If,  to  wit,  they  were  to 

THE    TRIBES    OF   THE    WEST    COAST  261 

eat  the  hare,  they  would  become  like  the  hare,  which  dies  and  does 
not  return  to  life  ;  but  if  they  do  not  eat  the  hare,  they  will 
become  like  the  moon,  which  dies,  but  again  becomes  alive. 
Women  and  children,  however,  eat  the  hare,  but  on  such  occasions 
they  must  bury  the  animal's  fur.  The  Berg-Damara  bow  to  the 
stone-heaps  of  Heitsi  Eibib,  in  the  same  manner  as  the  Hottentots. 
This  custom  they  may  have  copied  from  them,  as  many  of  the 
Ovaherero  do  the  same.  The  Berg-Damara  of  the  Waterberg 
speak  of  a  large  black  stone  situated  at  a  certain  spot  in  the 
Kaoko  mountains,  which  they  term  their  great-grandfather,  and 
say  that  they  and  every  other  living  thing  came  from  it. 

The  Ovaherero  like  the  Namaqua  despise  the  Berg-Damara 
as  heartily  as  possible.  These,  they  declare,  stand  quite  on  a 
level  with  the  baboons  which  inhabit  the  rocks,  and  dig  up 
uintjes  like  the  Berg-Damara.  Nothing  excites  the  laughter  of 
the  Ovaherero  so  much  as  to  say  that  the  Berg-Damara  are  as 
good  men  as  themselves. 

The  Ovaherero  or  Damara. 

It  is  stated  upon  good  authority  that  the  name  Herero  is  an 
attempt  to  reproduce  the  whirring  sound  of  the  broad-bladed 
assagais  used  by  the  Ovaherero  in  their  passage  through  the  air, 
a  name  which  was  bestowed  upon  them  by  the  Ovambo,  who  had 
good  reason  to  remember  this  formidable  weapon.  Va  is  one  of 
the  forms  of  the  plural  prefix  of  personal  nouns  common  to  all 
South  African  Bantu  languages,  which  may  be  rendered  the  men, 
sons,  or  those  of,  so  that  the  meaning  of  the  name  Ovaherero, 
although  not  its  Uteral  translation,  is  the  men  of  the  whirring 

These  Ovaherero  are  known  to  have  migrated  from  the  north 
or  north-east,  but  the  period  of  their  migration  is  not  known. 
It  cannot,  however,  be  less  remote  probably  than  two  hundred 
years.  The  name  Damara  is  of  comparatively  recent  origin,  and 
is  applied  alike  to  Ovaherero,  Ovambanderu,  and  Ovatyimba. 
The  Ovambanderu  were  originally  Ovaherero,  but  on  separating 
themselves  either  acquired  or  assumed  the  name  by  which  they 
are  now  known.  Many  Ovaherero  and  Ovambanderu  are  desti- 
tute of  cattle  and  sheep,  and  live  apart  from  the  others,  existing 
very  much  by  the  same  means  and  in  the  same  manner  as  the 


Bushmen.  These,  strangely  enough,  are  not  called  either 
Ovaherero  or  Ovambanderu,  but  Ovatyimba.  We  may  be  allowed 
then  to  conjecture  that  of  the  three  names  these  people  are 
designated  by,  that  of  Ovatyimba,  or  Watyimba,  as  it  is  un- 
doubtedly the  oldest,  is  that  they  were  originally  known  by,  and 
we  are  at  once  led  to  consider  that  the  cradle  of  the  race  is  in  the 
land  by  the  waters  of  Muta  Nzige,  in  the  country  of  the  Wazimba 
recently  traversed  by  the  intrepid  Stanley. 

The  Ovaherero,  or  Damara  as  they  are  more  commonly  called, 
are  the  first  of  the  black  tribes  we  meet  after  passing  through 
the  yeUow  races  scattered  over  that  wide  tract  of  country  which 
extends  for  two  himdred  miles  north  of  the  Orange  river,  and 
includes  Great  Namaqualand  and  a  large  portion  of  the  Kalahari 
desert.  They  belong,  as  has  been  shown,  to  the  Bantu  family, 
are  a  purely  pastoral  people,  possessing  great  wealth  in  cattle  and 
sheep,  and  are  not  the  less  interesting  because  so  much  has  still 
to  be  learnt  respecting  them.  The  country  they  occupy  is  of  vast 
extent  and  varying  richness,  admirably  adapted  to  their  require- 
ments. Their  neighbours  to  the  north  are  the  group  of  tribes  of 
which]^the  Ovambo  is  the  most  familiar  to  us. 

In  1797  these  Ovaherero  lived,  as  now,  to  the  north  of  the 
Namaqua.  In  1813  the  southern  boundary  of  their  country  was 
some  twenty-five  days'  journey  to  the  north  of  the  mouth  of  the 
Orange  river.  They  were  then  a  numerous  people,  divided  into 
five  principal  clans.  Their  riches  consisted  in  cattle  ;  while  the 
poor  Damaras,  who  lived  in  the  vicinity  of  the  ocean,  frequently 
entered  the  service  of  the  Namaqua. 

Their  chief  amusement  was  dancing  to  music  from  a  reed,  and 
they  also  beat  on  an  instrument  made  of  skin  resembling  a  drum. 
They  were  often  at  war  with  the  Namaqua,  generally  in  conse- 
quence of  their  stealing  women  from  each  other.  Their  endeavours 
were  directed  to  obtaining  each  other's  cattle.  The  prisoners 
taken  by  the  Damaras  were  not  put  to  death,  but  were  made 
either  servants  or  interpreters.  On  the  death  of  a  rich  man  they 
covered  his  grave  with  the  horns  or  bones  of  the  cattle  he  had 
killed  when  he  was  alive,  as  a  proof,  from  their  number,  that  he 
was  rich. 

They  appear  to  have  been  ever  in  the  same  degraded  state  as 
that  in  which  they  were  described  in  1861  by  the  traveller  Baines, 

THE   TRIBES    OF   THE   WEST    COAST  263 

who  then  visited  them.  They  were  not  able  to  manufacture 
iron,  and  the  assagais  which  they  used  were  obtained  in  barter 
from  the  Ovambo,  till  the  incursions  of  the  Hottentots  forced  them 
to  call  their  energies  about  them.  The  men  of  this  tribe  are  of 
moderate  height,  and  generally  weU  made,  of  a  rich  brown  colour 
like  the  Kaffir ;  their  hair  is  generally  straightened  out  and 
matted  in  strands  three  or  four  inches  long  with  fat  and  red  clay. 
Their  dress  consists  of  from  fifty  to  eighty  fathoms  of  thin 
leather  thongs  coiled  round  the  hips,  and  a  small  piece  of  skin 
between  the  legs,  with  the  ends  brought  up  and  tucked  under  the 
cord.  Beads,  iron  rings,  and  strips  of  tin  and  brass  are  used 
for  ornaments. 

The  headdress  worn  by  the  women  of  the  tribe  is  of  a  peculiar 
description.  It  is  formed  of  stout  hide,  bent  while  still  soft  to 
fit  the  head,  and  kept  in  form  by  rows  of  ornamental  stitching. 
To  this  is  attached  three  large  ear-shaped  appendages,  one  at 
each  side  and  one  at  the  back,  which  are  also  stitched  in  such 
patterns  as  to  give  them  the  proper  hollow.  Long  strings  of 
iron  tubing,  which  like  their  assagais  and  ornaments  of  metal 
were  formerly  obtained  from  the  Ovambo,  are  worn  pendent 
down  the  back.  The  weight  of  such  a  headdress  cannot  be 
trifling,  but  for  a  Damara  woman  to  appear  without  it,  with  her 
shaven  head  uncovered  before  her  husband,  would  be  considered 
such  a  gross  and  unwarrantable  breach  of  etiquette  that  even  her 
discovered  infidelity  would  sink  into  insignificance  in  com- 

These  people  are  about  the  most  heartless  under  the  sun. 
The  aged  and  helpless  are  left  to  perish  by  several  tribes,  but  that 
a  mother  should  refuse  to  pull  a  few  bundles  of  grass  to  close  up 
a  sleeping  hut  for  a  sick  daughter,  until  she  was  threatened  with 
personal  chastisement  if  she  neglected  it,  is  almost  beyond  belief, 
yet  Baines  assures  us  that  this  was  one  of  the  occurrences  which 
he  witnessed  during  his  travels  among  them.  He  also  relates 
another  case  of  an  even  more  diabolical  character.  A  Damara 
was  found  robbing  his  sister,  a  blind  girl,  of  the  food  apportioned 
to  her.  When  this  was  forbidden,  he,  in  revenge,  enticed  his 
sister  to  a  distance  in  the  veld  and  there  abandoned  her  in  her 
helpless  condition  to  be  devoured  by  hyenas. 

Cruel  as  was  the  treatment  these  Ovaherero  received  at  the 

264  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

hands  of  the  Namaqua,  they  made  forays  of  an  equally  unjust 
character  upon  the  Bushmen.  Those  who  beheve,  writes  the 
observant  Baines,  in  the  Arcadian  innocence  of  the  savage  state, 
and  fancy  the  poor  natives  know  no  ill  till  it  is  taught  them  by 
wicked  Christians,  ought  to  have  a  few  weeks'  experience  of  these 
people.  Heaven  knows  some  of  us  are  bad  enough,  but  the  utter 
want  of  decency,  and  even  of  common  humanity,  apparent  here 
seems  to  be  the  rule,  and  not  the  exception. 

The  Ovambo. 

The  Ovambo  are  living  still  farther  north  than  the  Ovaherero, 
and  belong  to  a  group  of  tribes  that  should  be  called  the  Avare , 
but  from  white  men  having  first  made  the  acquamtance  of  this 
branch  we  call  the  whole  Ovambo. 

They  are  described  by  Mr.  Henry  Chapman,  F.R.G.S.,  as  a 
very  hospitable  people,  who  must  have  been — before  they  were 
phmdered  by  the  Namaqua  Hottentots — a  rich  and  industrious 
nation,  capable  not  only  of  working  in  metals,  but  also  of  under- 
taking works  of  no  small  importance,  such  as  sinking  wells  of 
ninety  or  a  hundred  feet  in  depth,  with  a  spiral  path  cut  round  the 
sides  to  enable  people  to  descend  to  the  water.  Their  villages 
were  also  fenced  in  with  considerable  care,  and  the  huts  and  out- 
houses erected  by  a  family  have  as  imposing  an  appearance  as 
those  of  a  populous  village  among  other  tribes. 

They  trade  with  the  Portuguese.  Their  oxen  constitute  the 
staple  on  their  part,  and  in  consequence  of  this  one  of  their 
chiefs,  when  a  foray  was  made  upon  his  herds,  allowed  his  cows 
to  fall  into  the  hands  of  his  enemies  and  devoted  all  his  energies 
to  the  preservation  of  his  oxen. 

It  is  much  to  be  regretted  that  so  little  is  known  with  regard 
to  this  interesting  series  of  tribes.  Their  position  on  the  western 
coast  is  an  isolated  one,  cut  off  from  the  great  lines  of  commercial 
traffic  ;  they  have  been  seldom  visited,  and  consequently  only 
a  very  few  facts  have  been  recorded  about  them.  But  even  these 
scattered  fragments  reveal  to  us  the  rich  ungamered  field  that 
awaits  future  investigation.  We  find  there  the  representatives 
of  races  still  remaining  distinct,  which  in  other  parts  of  South 
Africa  have  been  so  rudely  intermingled  that  the  entanglement 
has  become  almost  chaotic  ;    and  therefore,  although  we  know 


but  little  about  these  western  tribes,  the  teachings  of  that  little, 
if  rightly  read,  have  an  important  bearing  upon  the  subject  of  our 

Here  in  considerable  portions  of  this  western  coimtry,  as  far 
north  as  our  present  researches  carry  us,  we  find  tribes  or  clans 
of  the  aboriginal  hunter  race  still  persistently  maintaining  their 
independence,  treated  with  the  same  contumely  and  imreasoning 
harshness  as  they  have  been  treated  by  every  other  race  with 
which  they  have  ever  come  in  contact,  yet  amid  all  the  oppressions 
which  have  been  heaped  upon  them,  stiU  clinging  with  the  same 
steadfast  tenacity  to  the  ancient  strongholds  of  their  forefathers, 
as  did  their  compatriots  to  the  south.       Here  we  find  repre- 
sentatives of  the  yeUow-skinned  pastoral  nomads,  who,  driven 
themselves  from  the  intra-lacustrine  regions  of  Central  Africa, 
fled  before  the  southern  advance  of  the  more  strongly  built  men 
of  the  darker  race.     Here  again  we  find  representatives  of  these 
latter,  whose  pioneers  pressed  into  the  rear  of  some  of  the  retreating 
Hottentot  tribes,  and  became  so  far  amalgamated  with  them 
that  their  descendants  acquired  the  language  of  those  with  whom 
they  had  fraternized  to  the  extinction  of  their  own.     We  find 
that  after  acquiring  the  language  of  the  Hottentots,  their  numbers 
so  increased  that  their  own  physical  characteristics  were  thor- 
oughly inherited  by  the  tribes  which  now  represent  them,  the 
Berg-Damara  of  the  present  day. 

We  discover  that  this  intermixture  of  races,  giving  rise  to  a 
seeming  paradox,  namely  that  of  a  dark-skinned  people  speaking 
a  language  aUied  to  that  of  the  Bushman,  or  the  Hottentot,  took 
place  at  every  point  upon  which  the  hordes  of  stronger  men 
advanced.  We  shall  find  as  we  proceed  with  our  investigations 
that  this  fact  forces  itself  prominently  forward,  especially  in  the 
migrations  of  the  Amaxosa  and  other  Coast  Kaffirs,  as  well  as 
those  of  the  pioneer  Bachoana  tribes  and  some  of  the  advanced 
clans  of  the  Leghoya,  which  gave  rise  to  the  formation  of  such 
Bushman  speaking  peoples  as  the  Masarwa  and  others. 

We  have  here  also  a  Bantu  race  still  retaining  the  primitive 
hunter  stage  of  existence,  yet  carrying  with  them  the  latent 
germ  which  developed  in  other  branches  of  the  family  into  that 
wonderful  fondness  for  agriculture  for  which  they  have  made 
themselves  celebrated.     Here  we  find  in  the  Ovaherero  a  tribe 

266  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

of  men  wearing  the  staart-riem,  a  mode  of  covering  which  dis- 
tinguishes the  agricultural  tribes  of  the  Bachoana  and  Basutu 
from  the  more  semi-agricultural  Coast  Kaffirs,  still  remaining  in 
a  partly  pastoral  condition  ;  while,  superior  to  aU  these,  we  have 
the  industrious  Ovambo,  skilled  in  the  working  of  metals,  dis- 
playing an  energy  in  overcoming  the  difficulties  of  nature  unparal- 
leled in  any  other  native  tribe  of  South  Africa,  exhibiting  also  in 
the  neatness  and  extent  of  their  dwellings  and  in  their  passionate 
love  for  agricultural  pursuits,  all  the  characteristic  traits  of  the 
most  advanced  of  the  Basutu  tribes,  such  as  the  Bakuena,  the 
Bamangwato,  and  others. 

From  the  foregoing  resume  we  seem  to  obtain  a  glimpse  of 
the  migratory  movements  of  the  two  races  here  brought  into  con- 
tact. In  the  first  place  we  find  amongst  those  of  the  yellow- 
skins  the  old  cave-dwellers  who  have  occupied  this  portion  of 
the  world  from  a  period  of  such  remote  antiquity  that  the  advent 
of  the  nomadic  pastoral  Hottentots  is  perfectly  recent.  Again 
we  have  different  phases  of  the  stronger  race  of  dark-coloured 
men  who  followed  on  the  trail  of  the  Hottentot  hordes.  These 
phases  represent  the  different  waves  of  migration  thrown  off  like 
sequent  ripples  from  a  common  centre,  each  carrying  with  it  and 
preserving  in  a  stereotyped  manner  a  facsimile  of  the  social  con- 
dition and  the  modes  of  thought  and  action  of  the  main  central 
body  from  which  it  was  derived  at  the  time  of  its  separation  ; 
and  each  in  succession  showing  the  advance  which  had  been  made 
in  the  conditions  of  life  by  the  parent  stock  during  the  interval 
which  succeeded  the  previous  separation,  and  by  this  means 
affording  a  reflex  view  of  the  various  stages  through  which  the 
parent  stem  itself  had  passed,  from  the  time  when  its  people 
subsisted  upon  veld-kost  until  they  gradually  merged  into  the 
hunter  stage,  whence  they  became  developed  from  tamers  of 
animals  and  cultivators  of  grass-seeds  into  the  pastoral  and 
agricultural  tribes  of  the  present  day. 

Having  thus  noticed  the  principal  tribes  along  the  eastern 
shore  of  the  Atlantic,  we  shall  now  proceed  to  gath|fer  further 
particulars  about  those  which  proceeded  to  the  south,  and  of 
which  remnants  exist  until  the  present  time.  The  principal  of 
these  are  at  present  known  under  the  titles  of  Korana  and  Griqua, 
and  as  the  Koranas  are  certainly  the  purest  of  the  Hottentot  tribes 
which  still  survive,  we  will  commence  our  investigation  with  them. 

Chapter  XV 


In  commencing  our  examination  of  the  traditions  which  have 
been  preserved  among  the  Korana  clans,  we  soon  discover  that 
they  have  been  able  to  preserve  a  more  consecutive  history  than 
that  known  of  any  other  branch  of  the  Hottentot  race.  It  is  for 
this  reason  therefore  that  its  study  sheds  a  clearer  and  more 
definite  light  upon  the  early  migrations  of  these  nomadic  hordes 
than  is  to  be  obtained  from  any  other  source,  and  it  cannot  be 
doubted  but  that  this  elucidation  of  their  wanderings  furnishes 
a  key  to  those  of  many  others. 

The  earliest  traditions  of  their  race  were  secured  bj'  Mr. 
Kallenberg,  for  many  years  a  missionary  at  the  Pniel  station  on 
the  Vaal,  which  was  established  especially  for  the  benefit  of  these 
people.  He  was  fortunate  enough  to  obtain  them  from  the  old 
people  of  the  tribe  who  were  looked  upon  as  the  repositories  and 
guardians  of  their  tribal  lore.  He  says  that  the  traditions  of 
these  Koranas  are  very  clear  upon  the  point  that  their  forefathers 
came  from  the  far  north-east  interior,  where  they  had  dwelt  in  a 
land  which,  from  its  abundance  of  water  and  every  good  thing 
requisite  for  a  pastoral  people,  was  described  as  being  almost  an 
earthly  paradise.  This  description  seems  to  point  to  the  great 
lake  country  of  Central  Africa.  They  knew  nothing  of  how  long 
their  remote  ancestors  had  remained  there.  From  the  descrip- 
tions given,  it  would  appear  that  they  were  driven  thence  about 
the  end  of  the  fourteenth  or  beginning  of  the  fifteenth  century 
by  tribes  which  they  describe  as  Bachoana,  a  stronger  race  of  men 
than  themselves,  armed  with  the  bow  and  battleaxe,  and  who 
were  themselves  pressing  down  from  the  north  and  driving  the 
weaker  Hottentot  tribes  before  them  as  they  advanced. 

The  fugitive  tribes  fled  towards  the  setting  sun,  and  continued 
their  flight  until  their  progress  in  that  direction  was  checked  by 

268  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

the  great  waters  in  front  of  them,  when  they  turned  towards  the 
south,  following  the  shore  of  the  great  waters,  which  always 
remained  on  the  right  hand.  The  country  through  which  they 
passed  was  either  unoccupied,  or  inhabited  only  by  enormous 
herds  of  game  and  scattered  tribes  of  primitive  Bushmen.  Thus 
they  slowly  migrated  along  the  coast-line  until  they  reached  the 
Cape  districts,  where  they  settled  and  lived  for  some  genera- 

Such  then  are  the  Koran  a  traditions  with  regard  to  the  migra- 
tions of  their  forefathers,  and  such  doubtless  was  the  line  of 
migration  of  all  the  other  Hottentot  tribes  of  which  we  have 
treated.  As  we  are  now  confining  our  research  more  especially 
to  the  Korana  branch  of  that  race,  we  will  for  greater  explicitness 
pursue  our  inquiry  under  the  five  following  heads,  viz. — 

(a)  The  Koranas  at  the  Cape, 

(b)  The  Koranas  of  the  great  valley  of  the  Orange  river, 

(c)  The  clans  of  the  Middle  Veld, 

(d)  Their  migrations  along  the  valley  of  the 'Gij  'GarieporVaal 
and  towards  the  north, 

(e)  Their  migrations  to  the  eastward  in  the  basins  of  the  Orange 
and  Caledon  rivers. 

{a)  The  Koranas  at  the  Cape. 

All  the  traditions  of  this  tribe  unhesitatingly  affirm  that  their 
forefathers  were  at  one  time  settled  in  the  present  Cape  district, 
and  that  they  took  their  title  from  a  chief  named  'Kora.  With 
the  knowledge  of  this  fact  in  our  possession,  we  cannot  help 
suspecting  that  the  orthography  of  Van  Riebeek  in  his  rendering 
of  Hottentot  proper  names  was  incorrect,  and  that  'Kora  and  not 
'Gora  was  the  word  which  ought  to  have  been  used,  and  which 
we  have  advisedly  adopted  in  a  previous  section  when  writing 
of  the  'Gorachoqua  and  the  kindred  tribe  of  Cochoqua,  which 
from  Korana  tradition  would  appear  to  be  merely,  as  we  have 
suggested,  subdivisions  of  one  and  the  same  tribe.  These  Cape 
traditions  of  theirs  carry  them  back  not  only  to  the  time  of  the 
Dutch  occupation,  but  also  to  some  of  the  visits  of  the  Portu- 

With  regard  to  their  great  chief  'Kora,  they  state  thathe^^was 
the  first  one  with  whom  the  Europeans  who  settled  there  made 

THE    KORANAS  269 

a  treaty.  The  strangers,  however,  soon  began  to  encroach  upon 
the  lands  of  the  natives,  and  war  followed  as  a  natural  consequence. 
'Kora  was  then  alive.  It  is  not  known  whether  he  was  slain  in 
battle  or  not,  but  it  is  known  that  he  died  young.  He  left  as  a 
successor  a  son  called  Eikomo.  He  also  had  to  defend  his  terri- 
tory against  the  daily  encroachments  of  the  new  colonists,  but 
he  could  not  long  resist  them,  and  he  was  ultimately  driven  back 
to  the  Brak  river. 

From  that  place  he  went  still  farther  north,  until  he  arrived 
amongst  a  numerous  tribe  of  Bushmen  who  were  wandering  on 
the  banks  of  the  'Gariep.  Here  he  entered  into  a  treaty  with 
these  people,  and  settled  in  the  country.  Doubtless  in  this  retreat 
he  avoided  traversing  the  country  occupied  by  the  Namaqua, 
the  old  rivals  of  his  tribe,  and  in  that  case  would  first  strike  the 
river  between  its  mouth  and  the  faUs. 

It  was  from  this  point  that  the  Korana  clans  began  to  separate 
and  spread  themselves,  some  continuing  along  the  river-valley, 
others  migrating  into  the  Middle  Veld,  near  the  present  Richmond 
and  Victoria  West,  where  they  remained  until  they  appear  to 
have  lost  all  tradition  about  the  Great  river. 

The  early  history  of  the  Dutch  settlement  furnishes  some 
interesting  coincidences,  which  tend  to  prove  the  correctness  of 
these  tribal  traditions.  Thus  the  Koranas  give  a  pedigree  of 
six  generations  between  'Kora  and  a  chief  living  in  1836,  a  period 
of  one  hundred  and  eighty-four  years  after  the  landing  of 
Van  Riebeek,  a  length  of  time  which  would  be  about  equivalent 
to  the  six  generations  indicated.  In  1659  Van  Riebeek, 
having  made  a  distribution  of  land  among  the  Dutch  colonists, 
the  Hottentots  and  they  were  involved  in  war.  In  1669 
peace  was  concluded,  and  the  Dutch  were  permitted  to  occupy 
a  piece  of  land  stretching  three  miles  along  the  shore.  And  in 
1673  they  were  again  at  war  with  the  Hottentots. 

Mr.  Backhouse  also  obtained  confirmatory  e\adence  upon  this 
point  from  a  source  independent  of  that  from  which  the  above 
traditionary  testimony  was  obtained.  Some  of  the  members  of 
a  Korana  clan  living  at  Mira-Matchu  informed  him  that  the 
great  tribe  of  the  Koranas  took  its  name  from  'Kora,  an  ancient 
chief  under  whom  they  had  formerly  lived,  and  that  they  had 
descended  from  a  people  who  inhabited  the  Cape  when  the  Dutch 

270  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

first  took  possession  of  that  part  of  the  country.  The  unanimity 
of  these  traditions  seems  thoroughly  to  substantiate  the  points 
now  under  examination,  and  to  establish  as  historical  facts,  as 
firmly  as  such  facts  can  be  established  upon  native  testimony, 
that  the  Koranas  derived  their  appellation  from  a  chief  named 
'Kora,  and  that  their  ancestors  formed  part  of  the  group  of  tribes 
which  in  the  days  of  Van  Riebefek  occupied  the  country  around 
Table  and  Saldanha  bays. 

(6)  The  Koranas  of  the  great  valley  of  the  Orange  river. 

It  is  worthy  of  remark  that  almost  in  every  instance  the  names 
assigned  to  the  various  rivers  and  mountains  by  the  natives  were 
more  lucid  and  distinctive,  and  therefore  less  likely  to  lead  to 
erroneous  ideas  with  regard  to  the  several  localities  indicated, 
than  those  bestowed  upon  them  by  their  more  civilized  successors. 
Thus  instead  of  the  entire  stream  being  called  by  one  name,  that 
portion  of  the  Orange  river  between  its  mouth  and  its  junction 
with  the  Vaal  was  designated  by  the  former  the  'Gariep,  the  river 
op-great  river,  in  contradistinction  to  the  'Gij-'Gariep,  the  yellow 
river  or  Vaal,  and  the  'Nu-'Gariep,  the  black  river  or  Orange. 
In  speaking  therefore  of  the  Koranas  of  the  Orange  river,  it  is 
the  first  portion  of  this  great  water  system,  or  as  we  have  styled 
it,  the  great  valley  of  the  Orange  river,  of  which  we  now  speak, 
and  of  the  Korana  tribes  which  emigrated  in  that  direction. 

The  backward  condition  in  which  many  of  these  Koranas 
were  with  regard  to  a  knowledge  of  metals,  even  to  a  very  recent 
period,  is  not  generally  known.  A  considerable  number,  how- 
ever, of  the  migratory  clans  of  the  early  Koranas  equally  with 
the  Bushmen  were  unacquainted  with  the  use  of  iron,  and  em- 
ployed pieces  of  sharpened  bone,  flint,  and  crystal  as  points  with 
which  to  tip  their  arrows.  They  also  used  pieces  of  split  reed  as 
knives  for  the  purpose  of  cutting  their  meat ;  moreover,  these 
Koranas  were  also  unacquainted  with  the  use  of  poison  to  render 
their  arrows  more  efficacious  and  fatal,  until  they  acquired  this 
knowledge  from  the  Bushmen,  from  whom  they  first  obtained 
their  supplies,  but  who  for  a  long  period  retained  the  secret  of  its 
manufacture  ;  and  it  was  only  after  fraternizing  with  the  Bush- 
men of  the  'Gariep  for  many  years  that  they  discovered  the 

THE    KORANAS  271 

method  of  mixing  it  for  themselves.'  Even  to  as  late  a  period 
as  1823  all  the  Korana  clans  of  the  'Gariep  were  stiU  armed  only 
with  their  ancient  bows  and  poisoned  arrows.  Thus  it  was  that 
such  men  as  Africaander,  Barends,  and  the  Koks  became  in  early- 
days,  by  the  possession  of  firearms,  so  formidable,  and  rose  to 
such  importance  in  the  estimation  of  the  surrounding  natives. 

A  number  of  these  old-fashioned  Korana  clans  appear  to  have 
clung  more  especially  to  the  tract  of  country  immediately  above 
and  below  the  great  falls  of  the 'Gariep.  They  continued  here 
so  tenaciously  that  this  section  of  them  might  well  have  been 
called  the  Koranas  of  the  Falls,  until  the  ruthless  forays  of  Afri- 
caander drove  them  higher  up  the  river.  These  falls  are  at  a  spot 
where  the  entire  volume  of  the  waters  of  the  great  river  precipi- 
tates itself  over  a  ledge  into  a  yawning  abyss  several  hundred  feet 
in  depth.  They  were  graphically  described  by  the  traveller 
Thompson  as  early  as  the  year  1823.  These  falls  possess  features- 
of  so  grand  a  description  that  even  the  Koranas  were  im- 
pressed with  a  superstitious  dread  concerning  them. 

The  great  waterfall  was  surrounded  by  dangerous  precipices, 
where  the  whole  volume  of  the  river  was  compressed  into  a  channel 
not  more  than  fifty  yards  in  breadth,  whence  it  descended  at  an 
angle  of  nearly  forty-five  degrees,  and  rushing  tumultuously 
through  a  black  and  crooked  chasm,  among  rocks  of  a  frightful 
depth,  escaped  in  a  torrent  of  foam.  This,  however,  was  only 
the  prelude,  the  commencement  of  the  scene.  Continuing  its 
way  through  this  deep  chasm  for  about  a  mile,  the  entire  body 
of  water,  confined  to  a  bed  of  scarcely  one  hundred  feet  in  breadth,, 
descends  at  once  in  a  magnificent  cascade  fully  four  hundred  feet 
in  depth. 

The  grandeur  and  sublimity  of  this  scene,  however,  made  little 

impression  upon  the  Koranas.     To  them  its  surroundings  only 

clothed  it,  amid  the  gloom  of  evening,  with  supernatural  terrors., 

Fortunately,  these  acted  upon  the  minds  of  their  enemies  as  well 

as  their  own,  so  that  it  became  a  kind  of  guardian  spirit  to  them  ;, 

while  the  fastnesses  and  dens  of  the  surrounding  woods  and  rocks 

became  their  strongholds  and  places  of  asylum  when  too  closely 

pressed  by  their  pursuers. 

'  Evidence  of  'Goggum'  Toovenaar,  an  old  Korana  interpreter,  up- 
wards of  eighty  years  of  age,  who  was  born  on  the  banks  of  the  Taba-Tae- 
boep,  or  Kat  river,  mnning  into  the  'Gariep  or  Great  Orange  river. 

272  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

The  clans  which  remained  wandering  upon  the  banks  of  the 
river  were  the  more  insignificant  ones  of  the  main  tribe ;  all  the 
leading  branches  appear  to  have  migrated  to  the  Middle  Veld  at 
a  ver}^  early  period.  Of  these  smaller  river  clanSj  none  of  their 
history  has  been  preserved  from  the  time  of  their  first  migration 
northward  until  the  commencement  of  the  troublous  times  which 
agitated,  at  the  beginning  of  the  present  century,  the  native  world 
of  South  Africa.  The  deplorable  condition  to  which  they  were 
reduced  shortly  after  that  time  we  shall  more  fully  enter  upon 
when  treating  of  the  freebooter  Africaander  and  his  exploits. 

We  will  now,  before  proceeding  with  the  account  of  the  migra- 
tions of  these  people,  attempt  to  draw  such  a  picture  of  their 
social  economy  and  character  as  may  give  additional  life  and 
reality  to  our  study  of  their  further  movements,  remembering 
that  the  description  of  the  habits  and  customs  of  one  of  their 
clans  is  a  description  equally  applicable  to  all,  and  that  in  the 
early  portion  of  the  nineteenth  century  these  were  the  same  condi- 
tions of  life  as  those  which  had  been  handed  down  to  them  from 
their  remote  ancestors.  For  long  ages  they  had  evidently  been 
an  unprogressive  race,  and  what  they  were  in  1800  was  but  a 
reflection  of  what  they  had  been  previously,  and  what  they  would 
almost  certainly  be  in  the  days  which  were  to  follow. 

The  countenances  of  the  Koranas  exhibited  a  total  absence 
of  mind,  combined  with  an  indescribable  habit  of  drowsiness. 
The  women  were  complete  sovereigns  over  the  cows  and  milk. 
Their  children  seemed  playful  and  active,  but  in  their  progress 
to  manhood  they  lost  this  disposition.  As  a  rule  they  lived  in 
separate  kraals,  each  independent  of  the  other,  in  each  of  which 
they  had  a  captain  or  chief,  but  his  power  was  only  nominal.  The 
rank  was  hereditary,  but  the  richest  man,  or  he  who  possessed 
the  greatest  number  of  cattle,  had  always  the  greatest  influence 
in  the  community.  With  regard  to  their  cattle,  it  was  the  duty 
of  the  boys  to  watch  them  during  the  day,  unless  there  was  danger 
of  an  attack  from  enemies,  when  the  young  men  assisted.  The 
cattle  were  considered  so  much  the  property  of  the  husband  and 
wife  that  the  former  could  not  dispose  of  any  of  them  without 
the  consent  of  the  latter.  The  women  milked  the  cows,  and  some 
of  the  cattle  were  killed  entirely  for  their  use  ;  the  men  had  noth- 
ing to  do  with  the  disposal  of  the  flesh,  but  the  husband  in  his 

THE    KORANAS  273 

turn  had  a  similar  privilege.  In  the  first  case  only  women  par- 
took, in  the  latter  only  men.  The  instance  was  rare  when  men 
and  women  ate  of  the  same  ox  or  cow. 

They  had  no  rite  of  circmncision  like  the  Bachoana  and  Kali&rs, 
but  when  a  boy  entered  upon  the  state  of  manhood  a  feast  was 
held,  and,  according  to  the  circumstances  of  the  father,  eight  or 
ten  oxen  were  killed  in  honour  of  the  event.  The  Koranas  were 
timid  and  cautious  when  opposed  to  Bushmen,  but  bold  in  their 
attacks  upon  any  of  the  Bachoana  tribes.  As  the  different  clans 
assisted  each  other  when  attacked,  it  was  rare  for  any  other  nation 
to  become  the  assailants. 

Mr.  Sass,  a  missionary  who  resided  for  some  time  among  them, 
states  that  most  of  them  did  not  milk  their  cows  in  the  morning, 
because  their  rest  would  be  disturbed  by  early  rising.  After  a 
long  night's  sleep,  they  would  stretch  their  hands  to  the  warm 
ashes  of  the  fire  to  light  their  pipes,  and  smoke  for  a  few  minutes, 
and  when  the  heat  of  the  sun  increased  they  crawled  to  the  nearest 
shade  again  to  indulge  in  sleep.  About  noon  the  cattle  returned 
from  the  fields  to  drink,  when  with  great  exertion  they  bestirred 
themselves  to  rise  and  milk  them  ;  they  then  drank  as  much  of 
the  milk  as  they  could,  after  which  they  smoked  and  composed 
themselves  to  sleep  till  the  coolness  of  the  evening  seemed  to 
arouse  them  a  little.  This  was  their  ordinary  mode  of  living, 
except  when  on  journeys,  for  which  they  prepared  by  killing  a 
sheep  and  eating  as  much  of  it  as  they  were  able  to  devour.  They 
then  set  off,  and  were  sometimes  absent  five  or  six  days  without 
tasting  a  morsel  more.  Like  most  of  the  savage  tribes,  if  desti- 
tute of  food  they  tied  a  skin  cord  around  them,  which  they  drew 
tighter  and  tighter  as  they  felt  .the  attacks  of  hunger. 

The  Koranas,  though  superior  to  the  other  Hottentots  in 
.stature  and  muscular  strength,  were  greatly  inferior  to  them  in 
moral  character.  Excessively  vain  and  impudent,  they  had  a 
great  deal  more  effrontery  than  true  bravery.  To  a  love  of 
plimder  they  joined  an  excess  of  idleness.  All  the  work  was  done 
by  the  women.  The  only  time  they  shook  off  their  apathy  was 
when  they  were  engaged  in  the  chase,  or  cattle-lifting,  or  at  one 
of  their  dancing  festivals.  Capricious  and  insubordinate,  they 
tolerated  their  chiefs,  rather  than  obeyed  them,  each  recognizing 
his  own  will  as  his  only  law.  They  were  irreconcilable  in  their 
hatreds.  T 

274  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

The  bodies  of  the  women  were  loaded  with  beads, — they  wore 
them  on  their  necks,  their  arms,  their  loins,  and  their  ankles. 
Their  dress  consisted  of  an  apron  of  small  cords,  which  descended 
to  their  feet,  and  a  kaross  made  from  the  skins  of  sheep  or  other 
animals  sewed  together.     They  anointed  their  bodies  with  sheep- 
tail  fat,  mixed  with  a  reddish  coloured  ochre.     They  consumed 
a  great  part  of  the  day  in  smoking,  and  left  their  children  covered 
with  vermin  and  their  rush  houses  in  a  state  of  most  disgusting 
filth.     All  their  energy  and  vigour  appeared  to  be  reserved  for 
their  monthly  dances.     When  the  moon  entered  her  first  quarter 
the  kraal  assembled  on  some  favourite  elevation,  danced  to  the 
sound  of  the  tang-tang  all  night  long,  and  sometimes  for  eight 
nights  in  succession.     In  this  amusement  they  placed  no  control 
on  their  passions,  but  abandoned  themselves  to  excesses  of  which, 
writes  M.  Arbousset,  it  would  be  a  shame  even  to  speak. 

One  of  the  most  singular  customs  of  these  people  was  that 
which  related  to  the  succession  of  their  chiefs.  The  eldest  son  of 
the  captain  of  the  kraal  while  a  lad  was  hardly  allowed  to  walk, 
but  was  kept  constantly  in  his  hut,  and  compelled  to  drink  milk 
frequently  in  order  that  he  might  grow  up  a  strong  man.  The 
milk  was  handed  to  him,  for  he  was  not  allowed  to  wait  upon 
himself.  When  the  father  considered  that  he  had  arrived  at  the 
age  of  manhood,  he  took  two  kerries,  and  presenting  one  to  his 
son,  reserved  the  other  for  himself.  With  these  the  father  and 
son  often  fought,  but  immediately  the  son  managed  to  vanquish 
his  father  by  knocking  him  down  upon  the  ground,  the  parent  on 
rising  commended  him,  and  from  that  time  acknowledged  him 
as  the  captain  of  the  kraal  in  his  stead. 

Like  the  Bushmen,  the  Koranas  exposed  the  aged  to  be 
devoured  by  wild  beasts,  alleging  in  defence  of  this  cruelty  that 
such  people  were  of  no  use,  and  only  consumed  food  which  ought 
to  fall  to  the  lot  of  others. 

Having  thus  obtained  a  few  glimpses  of  the  inner  life  of-one 
of  these  Korana  kraals,  we  will  once  more  take  up  the  thread 
of  our  investigation  with  regard  to  their  continued  migrations  and 
the[influence  those  migrations  had  in  dispossessing  the  more  primi- 
tive Bushmen  of  their  long  inherited  territories. 

(c)  The  Korana  Clans  of  the  Middle  Veld. 
From  the  traditions  preserved  among  some  of  the  members 

THE    KORANAS  275 

of  the  Katse  and  other  dans  of  this  tribe,  it  would  appear  certain 
that  some  of  them  at  any  rate  migrated  direct  from  the  Cape 
districts  to  the  tract  of  country  in  which  they  for  a  time  first 
located  themselves,  that  is  in  or  near  the  present  Division  of 
Victoria  West.  These  traditions  prove  also  that  they  did  not 
arrive  there  in  a  body,  but  as  in  all  other  native  migrations 
they  joined  their  new  settlement  one  after  the  other  in  a  kind  of 
straggling  manner,  until  they  became  at  length  a  formidable 

According  to  the  evidence  of  Hendrik  de  Katse,  an  old  Korana 
living  on  the  bank  of  the  Vaal  near  Pniel,  his  portion  of  the  tribe 
came  from  the  old  colonial  districts  about  four  generations  before 
his  time.i  The  Bushmen  in  those  days,  he  said,  inhabited  all 
the  land  :  there  were  neither  Griquas  nor  Kaffirs,  and  the  Bush- 
men lived  alone  in  it.  They  lived  by  hunting,  and  if  they  had 
quarrels  with  one  another,  they  soon  made  friends  again,  as  is 
the  custom  of  those  who  belong  to  the  same  people.  The  Bush- 
men of  those  parts  called  themselves  T'hors-qua,  but  the  Koranas 
•styled  them  Sana.  The  Bushmen  were  also  called  by  them 
'Tua-'kne — the  Krantz  or  Cave  dwellers. 

It  was  the  main  stem  of  their  tribe  which  settled  here,  origi- 
nally called  the  Great  Koranas,  from  which  aU  the  offshoots  or 
<;lans  were  derived.  Here  they  remained  for  some  two  or  three 
generations,  slowly  moving  about  from  place  to  place,  dividing, 
and  subdividing,  until  they  formed  about  thirty  distinct  septs, 
distinguished  by  different  appellations  indicative  of  some  peculiar- 
ity of  their  dress  or  mode  of  subsistence.  Their  only  occupations 
were  those  of  making  war  upon  the  aboriginal  inhabitants,  follow- 
ing the  chase,  or  making  forays  upon  one  another's  kraals  for  the 
purpose  of  cattle  lifting.  Some  of  their  kraals  possessed  large 
herds  of  cattle,  and  also  some  sheep  and  goats.  Their  flocks 
of  the  latter,  however,  were  not  numerous.  The  difficulty  of 
driving  them  from  place  to  place  and  of  protecting  them  from 

^  The  narrative  of  Hendrik  de  Katse  was  obtained  from  him  in  1874 
by  the  writer  whilst  engaged  on  the  geological  survey  of  Griqualand  West. 
He  was  then  about  seventy  years  of  age,  which  would  give  about  one  hun- 
dred and  eighty  years  since  his  forefathers  migrated  into  the  interior.  His 
information  related  not  only  to  the  origin  of  the  Korana  tribe,  but  took 
up  the  thread  of  the  tribal  history  at  the  point  where  that  of  Mr.  Kallen- 
berg  ended,  and  treated  also  of  the  disappearance  of  the  primitive  inhab- 
itants of  the  country. 

276  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

wild  animals  doubtless  operated  against  augmenting  their  flocks 
to  any  considerable  amount.  Many  kraals  possessed  neither 
sheep  nor  goats,  but  only  cattle  ;  some  of  the  weaker  clans  had 
been  pltmdered  of  all,  and  had  retrograded  in  consequence  from 
the  pastoral  to  the  hunter  state. 

In  personal  appearance  these  Koranas,  similar  to  those  pre- 
viously described,  were  superior  to  any  other  race  of  Hottentots, 
many  of  them  being  taU  and  possessing  an  air  of  ease  and  good 
humour  about  them.  They  bore  an  inveterate  animosity  towards 
the  Bushmen,  on  account  of  continual  depredations  on  their  flocks 
and  herds.  Their  wars  with  the  Bushmen  were  prosecuted  with 
so  much  rancour  that  quarter  was  seldom  given  on  either  side, 
either  to  old  or  young.  Though  possessing  similar  weapons  to 
the  Bushmen,  those  of  the  Koranas  were  superior  in  size  and 
workmanship,  and  their  po'^oned  arrows  were  occasionally 
feathered.  Their  only  manufactures  were  mats,  arms,  karosses, 
some  coarse  earthenware,  and  a  few  wooden  vessels  carved  with 
much  labour  out  of  solid  blocks  of  wood.  In  their  earlier  days, 
as  before  stated,  they  possessed  no  iron  at  all ;  their  arrow  points 
were  made  of  crystal,  or  flint,  while  the  sharp  edge  of  a  split  reed 
answered  the  purpose  of  a  knife  for  cutting  flesh.  They  did  not 
work  in  iron,  such  things  as  knives  and  hatchets  were  afterwards 
obtained  either  from  the  Bachoana  or  the  Boers. 

Like  the  rest  of  their  countrymen  they  were  fond  of  singing 
and  dancing  by  moonlight,  and  of  amusing  each  other  by  relating 
fictitious  adventures  around  their  evening  fires.  True  to  the 
instincts  of  their  race,  whenever  they  could  procure  honey  they 
made  a  very  intoxicating  sort  of  mead  or  hydromel,  by  fermenting 
it  with  the  juice  of  a  certain  plant,  the  secret  of  which  was  always 
retained  amongst  them  with  great  strictness.  Either  by  copying 
from  their  brethren,  the  Namaqua,  or  urged  thereto  by  constant 
hostilities  with  the  Bushmen,  or  equally  frequent  squabbles  and 
skirmishes  among  themselves,  these  clans  of  the  Middle  Veld 
had  made  an  advance  in  their  mode  of  warfare,  by  adopting  the 
use  of  defensive  armour  in  the  shape  of  shields,  which  were  enor- 
mously large  and  so  thick  that  an  arrow  or  an  assagai  could  not 
penetrate  them.  One  which  Barrow  saw  was  made  of  the  hide 
of  an  eland,  and  measured  six  feet  by  four.  Their  regular  attacks 
were  made  in  large  parties  of  four  or  five  hundred.     Though  very 

THE    KORANAS  277 

good  friends  among  each  other  while  poor,  the  moment  they 
obtained  a  quantity  of  cattle  by  plunder  they  began  to  quarrel 
about  the  division  of  the  spoil.  On  some  of  these  occasions  this 
was  carried  to  such  an  excess  that  they  continued  to  fight  and 
massacre  each  other  till  very  few  remained  on  the  field. 

Such  then  remained  the  conditions  of  life  among  these  Korana 
hordes  of  the  Middle  Veld,  until  some  of  them  had  so  entirely 
forgotten  the  traditions  of  their  race  that  when  one  of  their  hunt- 
ing or  marauding  parties,  on  a  reconnoitring  expedition  penetrated 
as  far  as  the  banks  of  the  Great  river,  or  'Nu  'Gariep,  they  returned 
to  their  friends  and  told  them  they  had  reached  the  end  of  the 
world,,  where  the  water  went  all  round  its  borders  ;  and  it  was  not 
until  a  much  later  period  that  any  of  the  Koranas  were  found 
hardy  enough  to  cross  to  the  opposite  bank  of  the  stream,  and 
discovered  that  the  world  continued  on  the  northern  side  and 
that  a  country  existed  there  similar  to  the  one  in  which  they  lived. 

This  discovery  had  an  important  bearing  upon  the  future 
destinies  of  the  Korana  race.  Their  increasing  clans  began  grad- 
ually to  spread  themselves  in  the  direction  of  the  river,  moving 
slowly  from  stage  to  stage  through  the  present  Richmond  Division. 
At  this  time  the  principal  branches  of  their  tribe  were  the  Taai- 
bosches,  who  represented  the  main  stem  of  the  Great  Koranas, 
and  whose  chiefs  were  acknowledged  to  be  paramount  over  all 
the  others.  The  first  great  offshoot  from  the  main  trunk  was 
that  of  the  Lynx  clan,  after  which  followed  the  Toovenaars,  who 
■again  threw  off  a  clan  called  the  'Gaap  or  Katse  people. 
These,  or  portions  of  their  clans,  took  the  lead  in  the  northern 
migration.  At  first  only  a  portion  of  the  'Gaap  or  Katse  moved 
onward,  the  older  people  belonging  to  it  still  lingering  behind  in 
the  Middle  Veld.  Even  in  1797  a  large  portion  of  the  Korana 
tribe  was  still  on  the  left  bank  of  the  'Nu  'Gariep,  but  by  that  time 
they  had  commenced  congregating  more  thickly  along  the  banks 
of  the  river  itself.  They  were  then  a  very  formidable  tribe. 
Their  pioneers  had  struck  the  'Nu  'Gariep  a  little  below  the  present 
Hopetown,  and  their  advanced  parties  crossed  somewhere  between 
that  and  the  junction  of  the  'Nu  and  'Gij  'Gariep,  or  Vaal,  migra- 
ting over  the  country  diagonally  until  they  struck  the  'Gij  'Gariep 
itself  near  the  present  Backhouse  drift.  These  people  were  princi- 
pally the  'Gaap  or  Katse  and  the  Toovenaars. 

278  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

Another  body  seems  to  have  crossed  the  river  lower  dowTi, 
near  where  the  great  escarpment  and  plateau  of  the  'Kaap  fringes 
upon  the  'Gariep  or  Great  river.  These  penetrated,  in  aline  of 
march  in  the  rear  and  to  the  westward  of  the  advance  of  the  others, 
as  far  as  Klaarwater,  the  site  of  the  present  Griquatown,  then 
called  'Gatee  t'Kamma.  The  whole  country  was  then  inhabited 
by  Bushmen,  and  was  covered  with  thick  groves  of  the  wild  olive 
tree.  The  place  of  their  crossing  was  at  the  Presala,  Prisoca,  or 
Prieska  drift. 

The  Toovenaars  and  Katses,  on  their  arrival  at  the  'Gij 
'Gariep,  turned  and  continued  their  migration  up  the  stream, 
extending  not  only  as  far  to  the  westward  as  the  ridge  of  the 
'Kaap,  near  Upper  Campbell,  where  one  of  the  clans  made  a 
temporary  halt,  but  also  along  the  valleys  of  the  Kolong  (the 
present  Hart)  and  the  'Gij  'Gariep  itself,  some  of  them  stretching 
to  the  north  along  the  former  until  they  came  in  contact  with  the 
Bachoana  tribes  advancing  from  the  opposite  direction.  This 
collision  took  place  about  the  same  time  with  the  advanced  parties 
of  both  the  Taaibosches  and  the  Toovenaars,  and  thus  once  more 
the  Koranas  came  face  to  face  with  the  very  tribes  before  whom 
their  fathers  had  fled  some  centuries  previously  from  the  far 
north-east  interior. 

In  the  interval,  however,  the  Koranas  had  made  advances  in 
the  art  of  war,  they  no  longer  used  the  puny  stone  or  bone  tipped 
reed  shafts  of  their  forefathers,  but  had  acquired  the  mystery  of 
rendering  their  arrows  fatal  with  the  deadly  poison  of  the  Bush- 
men. They  were  no  longer  a  few  fugitive  hordes,  but  an  advan- 
cing formidable  tribe  of  hunter  herdsmen,  who  had  been  accus- 
tomed for  several  generations  to  lord  it  over  all  with  whom  they 
came  in  contact.  The  more  confirmed  agricultural  pursuits  of 
the  Bachoana,  on  the  other  hand,  appear  to  have  deprived  them 
of  a  portion  of  the  warlike  fire  which  had  in  earlier  ages  enabled 
their  forefathers  to  conquer  ;  while  the  Koranas  had  become  more 
cruel  and  more  daring  than  any  other  tribe  of  their  nation.  Very 
soon,  therefore,  these  Bachoana,  or  Briquas  as  some  writers  have 
called  them,  found  to  their  cost  that  they  were  great  sufferers 
from  the  proximity  of  such  restless  and  daring  neighbours.  Large 
herds  of  their  cattle  were  carried  off,  and  their  children  were  also 
seized  and  forced  into  slavery,  while  in  the  conflicts  which  took 

THE    KORANAS  279 

place  between  them  the  assagais  of  the  Bachoana  had  Uttle  chance 
against  the  poisoned  arrows  of  the  Koranas. 

Such,  however,  was  the  innate  love  of  plunder  which  possessed 
these  Koranas,  that  they  were  not  content  with  looting  the  herds 
of  the  rich  Bachoana  tribes,  but  they  frequently  turned  back  to 
rifle  the  kraals  of  their  own  countrymen  whom  they  had  left  be- 
hind in  the  old  camping  grounds  south  of  the  Great  river.  This 
was  especially  the  case  after  the  advent  of  the  Griquas,  and  when 
both  they  and  the  Koranas  began  to  possess  themselves  of  fire- 
arms. This  acquisition  so  increased  their  rage  for  plunder,  that 
they  carried  their  devastating  freebooting  expeditions  to  an  ex- 
tent never  before  thought  of,  until  their  names  became  a  terror 
to  the  native  tribes,  and  they  were  not  unfitly  styled  by  one  writer 
the  Southern  Arabs  of  the  Desert.  It  was  during  this  period 
of  imrest  that  the  remaining  clans  of  the  Middle  Veld  were  fre- 
quently exposed  to  forays  made  upon  them  by  the  more  hostile 
and  poorer  branches  of  their  own  tribe. 

A  graphic  description  of  one  of  these  attacks  was  given  to  the 
writer,  which  may  form  a  characteristic  ending  to  our  remarks 
upon  these  clans  of  the  Middle  Veld.  The  narrator  was  one 
Leonard  Jagers,  a  counsellor  of  the  Katse  clan,  who  was  present 
at  the  time  of  the  attack  made  upon  his  parents'  kraal.  What 
he  remembered  of  this  affair  was  that  at  the  time  he  was  rather 
more  than  three  years  old,  when  one  morning  at  day-break  his 
friends  suddenly  found  their  camp  surrounded.  Their  assailants 
opened  a  heavy  fire  upon  the  huts  and  kraal,  which  as  quickly 
as  they  could  seize  their  arms  was  returned  by  the  inhabitants. 
The  firing  on  both  sides  continued  without  intermission,  or,  as 
Jagers  expressed  himself,  they  fired  and  fired  until  the  smoke  was 
so  thick  you  could  not  see  through  it.  This  was  continued  all 
the  day,  the  women  and  children  in  the  meanwhile  remaining  con- 
cealed in  the  huts.  Nearly  the  whole  time  Jagers  was  lying  with 
his  head  on  his  mother's  lap,  as  she  was  seated  on  the  ground. 
Late  in  the  afternoon,  as  the  fire  was  gradually  slackening,  a  stray 
buUet  entered  the  hut  and  struck  his  mother  on  the  breast,  pierc- 
ing her  heart,  when  she  immediately  fell  dead  upon  him,  covering 
him  with  her  blood.  This  was  the  only  life  sacrificed,  no  one 
else  was  killed  on  either  side. 

From  this  peculiar  plan  of  attack  a.nd  wonderful  waste  of 

28o  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

powder,  it  would  seem  as  if  the  design  of  the  assailants  was  to 
make  as  much  noise  as  possible,  and  then  amid  the  din  and  terror 
inspired  by  it  upon  the  minds  of  those  who  were  as  yet  somewhat 
unaccustomed  to  firearms,  to  get  possession  of  their  cattle  with  as 
little  risk  to  themselves  as  possible  ;  for  their  intention  was  evi- 
dently to  capture  and  to  feast,  and  not  to  fight  and  die.  This 
instance,  however,  will  give  a  very  good  idea  of  what  some  of  the 
natives  have  described  as  the  desperate  wars  which  were  waged 
between  Korana  and  Korana  for  cattle. 

Shortly  after  this,  the  increasing  depredations  of  the  banditti 
of  the  Lower  'Gariep,  the  frequent  forays  of  their  own  country- 
men, and  the  steady  but  ever-continued  advance  of  the  Whites 
beyond  the  colonial  boundarj',  compelled  the  last  of  these  clans 
to  break  up  their  camps  and  rejoin  once  more  the  different  por- 
tions of  the  tribe  to  which  they  severally  belonged  ;  and  a  few 
years  afterwards  only  a  few  very  insignificant  kraals  were  to  be 
found  to  the  south  or  on  the  left  bank  of  the  'Gariep  and 

These  rivers  formed  the  Rubicon  of  the  Korana  race.  Passing 
that,  they  steadily  grew  in  power  and  daring,  pursuing  a  course 
of  devastation,  until  tribe  after  tribe  was  impoverished  or  ruined 
by  them,  and  the  terror  of  their  name  spread  far  into  the  interior, 
even  as  far  to  the  northward  as  the  great  town  of  the  Batlapin ; 
and  to  the  eastward  until  they  made  the  Basutu  around  Moshesh 
tremble  in  their  mountain  strongholds. 

Having  arrived  thus  far  with  our  subject,  we  will  in  the  next 
place  take  their  northern  migrations  into  consideration. 

{d)  Their  Migrations  along  the  Valley  of  the  'Gij-'Gariep  and  to- 
wards the  North. 

Before  the  intrusion  of  the  Koranas  into  the  country  north 
of  the  Great  river  in  the  latter  half  of  the  last  century,  an  almost 
boundless  expanse  of  territory  was  stiU  in  the  hands  of  its  primi- 
tive owners.  To  the  east  and  west  the  stronger  races  had  already 
passed  it,  but  in  doing  so  had  merely  skirted  its  opposite  borders 
along  the  coast  lines.  From  the  north,  the  Bachoana  and  Basutu 
tribes  had  pressed  in  like  two  long  sand  banks  jutting  into  the 
broad  bosom  of  an  extensive  lake  ;  but  we  shall  find  that  even 
the  portion  of  the  country  into  which  they  had  intruded  was  only 

THE    KORANAS  281 

partially  occupied  by  them,  while  in  the  midst  of  these  wilds 
there  were  stiU  numerous  clans  of  Bushmen  who  had  never  before 
the  arrival  of  the  Korana  intruders  seen  the  face  of  any  other 
men  than  those  belonging  to  their  own  race.  Fortunately  the 
native  evidence  upon  this  point  is  clear  and  definite. 

In  1874  when  the  writer  was  employed  in  a  geological  survey 
of  that  portion  of  the  Orange  river  vaUey  through  which  these 
migratory  tribes  had  passed  on  their  northern  route,  he  met, 
among  the  precipices  of  the  great  'Kaap  plateau,  at  a  spot  be- 
tween the  two  points  where  these  nomadic  Koranas  had  crossed 
the  river,  an  ancient  Bushman  whom  the  Griquas  had  named 
Oude  Timiiierman.  He  was  found  among  his  ancestral  rocks  of 
the  'Kaap,  about  halfway  between  the  jimction  of  the  Orange 
and  Vaal  rivers  and  the  black  precipitous  gorge  through  which 
the  united  streams  run,  near  a  place  called  Bang  Hoek,  whidi 
may  be  interpreted  The  Glen  of  Terror,  where  the  river,  hemmed 
in  by  great  precipices,  dashes  over  a  siaccession  of  rocks.  He  was 
the  oldest  looking  man  the  writer  had  ever  seen,  and  he  certainly 
at  the  very  least  must  have  numbered  a  hundred  years.  He  had 
more  the  appearance  of  a  skeleton  with  a  shrivelled  parchment 
skin  drawn  over  it  than  anything  else.  He  looked  like  a  man  of 
past  ages  again  revisiting  the  earth,  a  fossil  man,  who  bore  all 
the  signs  of  antiquity  about  him,  and  was  a  veritable  relic  of  the 
past.  His  legs  were  covered  with  the  most  frightful  scars,  from 
the  bums  he  had  received  whilst  cowering  over  a  small  fire  to 
impart  some  warmth  to  his  withered  limbs  during  the  severity 
and  frosts  of  the  chilling  winters. 

He  said  that  he  was  now  living  alone,  that  his  wife  had  gone 
away  to  see  his  two  daughters,  who  were  stajdng  at  the  nearest 
pohce  camp,  that  he  had  descended  from  a  race  of  Bushman 
captains,  and  he  then  gave  the  names  of  the  five  last  descents. 



a  great  chief,  who  was  the  ather  of 

who  was  the  father  of 

who  was  the  father  of 



'Te  to, 
who  died  at  the  spot  where 

my  informant 
lived,  and  was  the  father  of 


OuDB  Timmerman, 

the  ancient  Bushman 

captain,  my  informant, 

and  the  last  of  his  tribe, 

who  had 

Two  daughters. 

He  stated  that  when  he  was  a  child  the  Bushmen  of  that  part 
believed  that  the  only  people  in  the  world  were  Bushmen  and 
Lions.  We  fought,  he  said,  the  Uons,  and  hunted  the  great  game, 
and  all  the  game  was  our  cattle  !  In  those  days  the  country 
swarmed  with  lions  and  large  game  ;  they  were  there,  and  there, 
and  there,  wherever  you  see  !  He  said  when  a  boy  of,  as  he  de- 
scribed it,  about  ten  or  twelve  years  of  age,  ^  the  first  Koranas 
crossed  the  Great  river,  and  came  into  the  country  where  his 
father  and  his  tribe  lived.  The  Koranas  began  to  destroy  the 
Bushmen's  cattle,  and  drive  them  away ;  it  was  after  this  that 
the  sight  of  the  herds  belonging  to  the  strangers  became  too 
strong  a  temptation  for  them  to  withstand,  and  then,  he  said,  we 
saw  that  they  would  kill  us  aU,  annihilate  us  from  the  earth,  for 
we  were  not  as  they,  our  houses  are  among  the  rocks,  we  are  free 
men,  we  love  the  sun  ! 

A  war  of  extermination  was  commenced  against  them  by  the 
Koranas.  Many  of  the  Bushmen,  he  said,  were  shot ;  others  fled 
from  the  country  ;  a  few  like  himself  tenaciously  clung  to  their 

^  The  statement  of  Timmerman  would  show  that  the  Koranas  first 
crossed  the  Great  river  about  1785-90,  a  date  which,  although  the  exact 
year  is  not  known,  must  be  nearly  correct. 

THE    KORANAS  283 

old  haunts,  the  place  of  their  birth,  where  they  lived  out  of  the 
usual  track, ,  and  could  hide  themselves  in  the  krantzes.  The 
bees'  nests,  he  said,  were  to  him  what  cows  were  to  other  men, 
as  he  could  fill  his  leather  sacks  with  the  honey  whenever  the 
nests  were  full.  The  place  where  he  and  his  fathers  lived  is  now 
called  Timmerman's  Fontein,  and  was  one  of  the  spots  reserved 
by  the  Griqua  chief  Waterboer  as  a  farm  for  himself.  This  ancient 
added  with  an  expression  of  sorrow  that  now  he  was  very  old, 
and  his  only  wish  was  that  they  would  not  drive  him  away,  but 
let  him  die  and  leave  his  bones  where  his  fathers  had  laid  theirs 
before  him. 

Such  was  the  somewhat  pathetic  account  of  the  former  con- 
dition of  the  country  and  its  prior  occupants,  a  statement  thor- 
oughly substantiated  by  every  old  Korana  whose  evidence  could 
be  obtained  upon  this  point.  Hendrik  de  Katse  was  most  em- 
phatic in  asserting  that  the  country  when  they  came  into  it  was 
unoccupied,  that  it  was  only  filled  with  the  wild  game  and  the 
Bushmen.  The  Koranas,  he  said,  after  crossing  the  Great  river, 
traversed  the  coimtry  without  hindrance  until  they  arrived  on 
the  hiUs  near  the  present  farm  Backhouse.  At  this  place  a 
number  of  Bushmen  gathered  together,  and  a  large  body  of  them 
attacked  the  cattle  whilst  they  were  grazing  in  the  veld. 

The  Bushmen  had  concealed  themselves  among  the  hiUs, 
and  after  the  Koranas  had  finished  milking  and  were  driving  the 
cattle  out,  the  Bushmen  suddenly  attacked  them  in  large  num- 
bers. They  were  all  armed  with  bows  and  arrows,  and  some 
carried  also  a  kind  of  assagai.  They  immediately  commenced 
driving  off  the  cattle,  wheii  the  alarm  was  given  in  the  camp  of 
the  Koranas,  who  were  armed  in  those  days  in  the  same  manner 
as  the  Bushmen.  The  Koranas,  some  hvmdreds  in  number, 
seizing  their  weapons,  followed  over  the  fiats,  where  they  over- 
took the  Bushmen  and  the  cattle.  Here  a  great  battle  com- 
menced between  them.  The  Koranas,  after  two  or  three  hours' 
fighting,  succeeded  at  last  in  driving  the  Bushmen  away  from 
the  cattle.  Seven  Koranas  were  woimded.  Then  the  Bush- 
men fled  towards  the  drift  near  Backhouse,  and  here  again  the 
Koranas  overtook  them,  and  a  great  slaughter  followed.  The 
bank  of  the  river  leading  to  the  drift  was  covered  with  dead 
Bushmen,  who  fought  and  struggled  until  they  gained  the  oppo- 


site  side,  when  the  Koranas  ceased  from  pursuing  them.  From 
that  day  the  drift  was  called  'Go-'koo-ltmie,  ^  from  the  great 
destruction  of  the  enemy  there.  This,  said  Hendrik,  was  the 
first  Bushman  war. 

A  kind  of  peace  was  then  made.  During  this  peace  the 
division  of  the  Koranas  called  'Gaap  or  Katse  settled  at  the  top 
of  the  kloof,  where  Campbell  was  afterwards  built,  but  after 
remaining  here  a  short  time  they  again  removed,  and  after  a 
year's  absence  returned.  Three  years  afterwards  another  war 
broke  out  between  them  and  the  Bushmen,  who  on  this  occasion 
came  from  the  Langeberg.  The  remnant  of  those  they  had 
first  come  in  contact  with  were  at  this  time  living  intermingled 
with  the  Koranas,  subsisting  on  the  honey  of  the  'Kaap. 

This  statement  evidently  confirms  that  of  the  old  Bushman 
captain,  and  shows  that  the  Bushmen  with  whom  the  Koranas 
were  first  at  war  were  those  inhabiting  the  rocks  of  the  'Kaap, 
which  would  include  the  clan  of  'Nambe,  and  of  which  Maarman 
must  have  been  the  captain,  so  that  he  obtained  his  name  from 
some  Dutch-speaking  Korana  or  some  of  the  Bastaards  who 
followed  shortly  afterwards. 

The  Langeberg  Bushmen,  continued  De  Katse,  came  down 
in  a  great  commando  upon  them,  and  surrounded  their  camp  in 
the  night.  In  the  morning  the  Koranas  were  perfectly  unaware 
of  their  danger,  and  after  milking  their  cows,  sent  the  cattle  out 
as  usual.  As  soon  as  they  arrived  at  the  great  vlei  (Upper 
Campbell)  the  Bushmen  sprang  out  of  the  long  grass  and  reeds 
upon  them,  seized  the  herds,  and  drove  them  rapidly  off.  Three 
of  the  Koranas  were  killed  in  the  vlei,  and  three  were  wounded ; 
but  the  alarm  being  given,  they  overtook  the  raiders  before  they 
got  clear  away.  An  obstinate  struggle  took  place,  and  they 
fought  for  some  time,  but  at  last  succeeded  in  driving  the  Bush- 
men clear  of  the  cattle  and]  into  some  deep  kloofs  near  the 
high  ridge  where  the  road  passes.  Here  the  Bushmen  stood  at 
bay,  but  a  great  number  were  slain.  ^     The  remnant  fled,  and 

^  The  drift  was  thus  named  by  the  Bushmen  themselves,  from  the 
merciless  way  in  which  they  were  shot  down.  The  meaning  of  the  word 
is  equivalent  to  the  expression,  You  showed  us  no  mercy. 

^  This  advantage  was  very  Ukely  obtained  from  the  large  shields, 
which  we  have  already  learnt  these  Koranas  carried,  and  which  enabled 
them  to  approach  the  Bushmen  with  comparative  safety. 

THE    KORANAS  285 

the  Koranas  taking  up  their  spoor,  followed  on  it,  but  did  not 
overtake  them.  They  found  the  skulls  of  seven  of  them  in  one 
spot,  however,  and  a  much  larger  number  at  a  place  farther  on. 
These  were  evidently  men  who  had  died  during  the  flight  from 
their  wounds  and  the  poison  of  the  arrows,  and  who  had  been 
afterwards  devoured  by  the  hyenas  which  abounded  in  those 
parts.  The  routed  Bushmen  succeeded  in  gaining  the  Langeberg 
without  being  again  overtaken  by  the  pursuing  Koranas. 

In  those  days,  and  in  that  battle  'Ku-'nap-soop  was  the  great 
captain  of  the  Koranas,  and  his  children  are  Uving  now.  This 
was  the  second  war.  After  that  there  was  peace,  and  the  Kora- 
nas moved  away  from  Campbell  and  occupied  the  land  near  the 
KUp  drift  (the  present  Barkly),  and  made  their  kraal  near  the 
great  camel  thorn  there.'  It  was  the  great  tree  on  the  ridge 
near  the  poort,  on  the  right  bank  of  the  river.  ^  They  had  en- 
joyed a  long  time  of  peace,  when  after  some  years  the  Bushmen 
east  of  the  Vaal  gathered  all  their  tribes  together,  and  seizing 
the  favourite  pack  ox  of  the  Koranas,  upon  which  they  rode, 
drove  it  to  the  hills  and  there  slaughtered  it.  The  Koranas,  in- 
dignant at  this  insult,  followed  on  the  spoor,  and  discovered  the 
Bushmen  at  their  place  of  feasting.  The  Koranas  came  there 
in  the  night,  surrounded  the  place,  and  lay  stiU  until  morn- 
ing. When  the  day  broke,  the  Koranas  called  out  to  the  Bush- 
men, and  asked  them  to  give  up  the  ox,  but  when  they  found  it 
had  been  slaughtered,  they  attacked  the  Bushmen  so  warmly 
that  three  fell  and  the  others  fled,  and  no  Korana  was  wounded 
that  day.  This  was  the  third  and  last  war  of  the  Katse  clan 
with  the  Bushmen  of  the  Vaal.  It  was  called  the  War  of  the 
Pack  Ox. 

There  was  peace  from  those  days,  and  many  of  the  Bushmen 
came  and  mixed  with  the  Katses  and  lived  under  them.  Thus 
it  is  that  the  Katses  understand  the  Bushman  tongue,  and  the 
Bushmen  the  Katse's,  although  they  are  two  languages.     After 

'  This  tree  escaped  the  ruthless  axe  of  the  diamond  diggers  until  late 
in  1876.     It  was  a  landmark  which  could  be  seen  many  miles. 

^  In  1874  the  writer  visited  this  spot,  and  found  on  the  hill  on  the 
opposite  side  of  the  river,  near  the  site  of  the  old  Korana  camp,  the  place 
where  the  Bushmen  on  the  look-out  had  formed  two  or  three  screens  of 
loose  stones,  from  which  they  could  watch  whatever  was  going  on  in  the 
camp  without  exposing  themselves  to  view. 


that  there  was  war  between  the  Koranas,  one  clan  with  the 
other.  Many  years  afterwards  other  Bushmen  came  from  the 
mountains  and  fought  with  the  Koranas,  but  they  were  alto- 
gether destroyed,  and  then  the  missionaries  came  into  the  land, 
and  the  Katse  people  have  dwelt  at  Pniel  unto  this  day.  The 
captain  of  the  Katses  in  1874  was  Andries  Kats — his  father  was 
a  great  captain,  but  he  was  killed  and  devoured  by  a  lion. 

Thus  ended  Hendrik  de  Katse's  somewhat  quaint  description 
of  the  early  movements  of  that  portion  of  the  Korana  tribe  to 
which  he  belonged.  We  wiU  now  revert  to  the  second  division, 
which,  passing  the  river  at  Prieska  drift,  advanced  through  the 
country  rather  more  to  the  westward,  until  they  made  a  tem- 
porary halt  at  'Gatee-t'Kamma,  afterwards  chosen  by  the 
missionaries  as  the  site  of  their  Griqua  station,  to  which  the  name 
Griquatown  was  subsequently  assigned. 

At  this  time  the  nearest  of  the  Bachoana  tribes  appears  to 
have  been  the  main  branch  of  the  Barolong,  then  staying  at 
Taung,  the  -place  of  the  Lion,  under  their  chief  Tao  or  Tau,  the 
Lion.  This  place  was  situated  on  the  Upper  Hart  river,  then 
called  the  Malalarene,  while  the  lower  portion  of  the  same  stream 
was  distinguished  as  the  Kolong.  The  Koranas  were  then  under 
'Kunapsoop  or  Taaibosch  the  Elder,  the  paramount  chief  of  the 
Great  Koranas.  The  Barolong  chief,  upon  hearing  of  their  ad- 
vance into  that  part  of  the  country,  came  to  pay  them  a  visit, 
and  after  an  apparently  friendly  interview  departed.  After  a 
lapse  of  time  Tau  paid  them  another  visit,  accompanied  by  a 
large  number  of  his  people.  The  old  Korana  captain,  thinking 
they  had  come  in  the  same  friendly  manner  as  before,  hastened 
to  meet  them,  and  offered  to  the  chief,  according  to  their  custom, 
sundry  articles  of  food  for  himself  and  his  people. 

The  chief  Tau  however  was  meditating  treachery,  and  his 
followers  had  concealed  under  their  skin  karosses  assagais  broken 
short.  Noticing  a  convenient  opportunity,  they  suddenly  dis- 
played their  perfidy,  and  most  treacherously  murdered  'Kunap- 
soop, with  a  large  number  of  his  people. 

After  this  dastardly  attack  Jan  Taaibosch  the  Elder,  or 
'Knon-bil,  was  unanimously  declared  chief.  He  rallied  the 
Koranas,  and  crossed  the  Malalarene  in  pursuit  of  Tau  and  his 
people,  who  were  on  the  way  back  to  their  own  country.    The 

THE    KORANAS  287 

Koranas  overlook  them,  and  a  battle  ensued  in  which  the  Baro- 
long  were  defeated  and  driven  away.  Following  up  this  advan- 
tage, they  pursued  the  retreating  Barolong  to  the  great  place  of 
Tau.  Here  he  turned  at  bay,  four  battles  were  fought  with  him 
and  some  of  the  Batlapin,  who  were  then  in  a  state  of  vassalage 
under  the  Barolong,  and  who  had  contracted  intermarriages  with 
the  Bushmen.  In  the  end  they  forced  the  Barolong  to  leave  the 
country,  when  they  retired  as  far  as  Setlagole  for  refuge,  a  place 
nearly  one  hundred  miles  farther  to  the  north.  The  chief  Tau, 
it  is  said,  died  of  his  wounds. 

After  fighting  and  defeating  the  Barolong,  most  of  these 
Koranas  removed  and  settled  in  the  conquered  territory.  Rijt 
Taaibosch  occupied  Patuni  or  'Nukuni,  and  the  Korana  captain 
'Khammakose  died  at  'Nukuni.  It  was  long  subsequent  to  these  • 
Korana  victories  over  the  Barolong  that  the  Griquas  came  and 
settled  with  their  missionaries  at  Klaarwater. 

These  Koranas  attempted  at  various  times  to  push  their 
predatory  inroads  far  to  the  north,  attacking  not  only  the  differ- 
ent branches  of  the  Batlapin,  but  also  of  the  Batlou,  the  Bakuena, 
the  Bangwaketse,  the  Leghoya,  the  Bataung,  and  others.  These 
attacks  were  carried  on  so  pertinaciously  that  some  of  the 
branches  of  these  tribes  lost  aU  their  cattle,  and  were  reduced  to 
the  greatest  extremities.  In  all  their  settlements  cattle  lifting  seems 
to  have  been  their  chief  employment  and  amusement.  Never 
before  in  the  history  of  their  tribe  had  they  possessed  such  an 
opportunity  of  developing  their  powers  of  acquisitiveness,  and 
it  certainly  cannot  be  said  that  they  did  not  avail  themselves  of 
it  to  the  utmost.  Some  of  their  kraals  depended  entirely  upon 
these  raids  as  a  means  of  support.  As  long  as  the  captured 
cattle  lasted,  there  was  feasting  and  dancing,  rejoicing  and  sing- 
ing, but  as  soon  as  the  supply  was  exhausted  a  preparation  of 
bows  and  poisoning  of  arrows  commenced  for  another  foray. 

As  a  demonstration  of  the  deplorable  effects  of  these  con- 
tinuous depredations  upon  many  of  the  surrounding  tribes,  we 
learn  that  Intshe,  the  Ostrich,  a  son  of  Inkwane,  who  at  one  time 
possessed  a  great  many  cattle,  lost  them  all  in  one  of  these  attacks, 
and  was  reduced  to  such  utter  distress  that  he  and  the  remnant 
of  his  people  were  obliged  to  seek  shelter  among  the  wild  and 
much  despised  Bushmen,  in  order  to  obtain  subsistence.     This 

288  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

fact  illustrates  at  the  same  time  that  these  wild  Bushmen  could 
not  have  been  the  remorseless  and  bloodthirsty  creatures  they 
have  been  so  frequently  depictured,  seeing  that  we  find  them  not 
only  in  this  case,  but  in  numerous  other  instances,  affording  an 
asylum  to  many  fugitives  under  similar  circumstances. 

In  all  these  attacks  the  principal  weapons  of  the  Koranas 
appear  to  have  been  the  ancient  bows  and  arrows  of  their  race, 
which  continued  to  be  used  until  the  settlement  of  the  Griquas 
at  Griquatown,  about  which  time  firearms  were  introduced  by 
the  Koks  and  their  guardian  missionaries. 


A  Female  Hottentot  of  the  last  century. 

According  to  Le  Vaillant. 

Chapter    XVI 


During  this  early  period  the  formidable  character  of  the  Koranas 
was  augmented  by  the  accession  to  their  ranks  of  a  powerful  aUy 
in  the  person  of  a  fugitive  or  outlaw  from  the  Cape  Colony  named 
Jan  Bloem,  variously  described  as  a  German  and  a  fugitive 
Dutchman.  Little  more  is  known  of  the  origin  of  this  man  than 
that  he  was  of  the  same  name  as  his  father,  Jan  Bloem,  who  was 
a  German  by  birth,  and  who  with  his  son  lived  successively  in 
four  parts  of  the  Colony.  This  son,  Jan,  left  or  fled  from  the 
Colony  with  Piet  Pienaar,  who  was  afterwards  murdered  by  the 
Africaanders.  His  avowed  object  in  leaving  the  Colony  was  to 
tend  some  cattle  belonging  to  Piet  Pienaar  on  the  Great  river. 
Some  time  after  removing  thither,  hearing  of  the  multitude  of 
cattle  possessed  by  the  Bachoana  and  the  Koranas,  and  the 
defenceless  state  of  these  people,  he  resolved  to  make  an  attack 
upon  them  in  order  to  carry  off  their  herds,  and  so  become  rich 
in  a  single  expedition. 

By  some  means  or  other  he  prevailed  on  many  Hottentots  to 
accompany  him  on  this  plundering  expedition.  He  and  his 
people  killed  many  of  the  inhabitants  against  whom  they  went, 
and  captured  a  great  number  of  their  cattle ;  indeed  the  number 
was  so  great  that  a  thousand  are  said  to  have  fallen  to  the  share 
of  Pienaar,  which  no  doubt  was  the  largest.  When  Pienaar 
transported  his  ill-gotten  property  to  the  Colony,  Jan  Bloem 
remained  behind  and  continued  to  make  plundering  expeditions 
against  the  Koranas. 

His  first  attemptvwas  attended  with  a  shocking  event,  for 
besides  those  who  fell  by  means  of  his  firearms,  which  greatly 
terrified  the  Koranas,  many  of  the  defenceless  women  and  children 
ran  for  refuge  from  their  murderers  into  the  Great  river,  where 
they  perished.     After  crossing  the  river,  the  first  place  where  he 

289  u 


formed  his  kraal  was  near  the  strong  spring  or  fountain  which 
now  supphes  the  town  of  Bloemfontein  with  water,  and  hence  its 
name,  which  it  retained  after  he  had  abandoned  that  part  of  the 
country.  He  afterwards  went  higher  up  the  'Gij  'Gariep,  and 
took  up  his  residence  near  the  mouth  of  the  Kolong  river. 
There  he  commenced  his  ravages  by  attacking  the  Bachoana,  many 
of  whom  were  slain,  and  much  cattle  taken.  He  found  means  to 
prevail  upon  many  Bushmen  and  Koranas  to  join  his  standard, 
which  they  did  probably  to  save  their  own  lives. 

He  received  much  assistance  from  Jacob  and  Karl  Kruger, 
two  Boers  who  fled  from  the  Colony  for  some  crime  of  which  they 
had  been  guilty.  These  supplied  him  with  additional  muskets, 
ammunition,  and  people,  and  shared  in  the  plunder  which  he 
obtained.  He  then  estabhshed  himself  at  another  fountain, 
which  subsequently  had  the  name  of  Jan  Bloem's  fontein  bestowed 
upon  it,  situated  between  Ongeluk  Fontein — the  Fountain  of 
Misfortune — and  T'Goay'pa,  afterwards  called  Blink-klip,  the 
shining  rock  or  stone.  This  place  he  made  for  a  long  time  his 
headquarters.  He  was  then  elected  by  a  clan  of  the  Taaibosches 
called  the  Springboks,  their  chief,  or  captain,  and  from  among 
them  he  took  the  greater  number  of  his  wives,  by  whom  he  had 
seven  sons  besides  daughters.  He  continued  carrying  on  his 
cattle  raids  to  a  considerable  distance  into  the  interior,  living  on 
the  plunder  of  every  kraal  he  could  surprise.  He  died  from  the 
effects  of  poison  shortly  after  his  repulse  by  the  Bangwaketse, 
and  was  buried  at  Taung,  about  1799,  when  his  son,  Jan  Bloem 
the  younger,  succeeded  to  the  chieftainship  of  the  Springboks. 

It  was  this  man  who  led  the  Koranas  in  one  or  two  of  the  most 
furious  attacks  which  they  made  on  Lithako.  Under  his  com- 
mand, and  with  the  firearms  he  had  acquired,  they  obtained 
victory  after  victory,  plundering  aU  the  tribes  within  their  reach, 
and  spreading  dismay  through  a  wide  extent  of  country.  At 
length  he  determined  to  attack  the  Bangwaketse,  a  tribe  of 
Bachoana  which  their  fellow-countrymen  had  learnt  to  look 
upon  as  invincible,  and  whose  warlike  chief,  Makaba,  had  spread 
his  fame  throughout  aU  the  surroimding  nations.  The  Koranas 
and  Bloem  were  warned  of  the  hazards  they  would  run,  but 
nothing  daunted,  the  expedition  started  with  the  full  assurance 
of  an  easy  victory  and  an  abundance  of  spoil ;   but  in  this  they 


were  disappointed.  They  met  with  nothing  but  discomfiture 
and  defeat,  and  here  it  was  that  a  check  was  put  to  the  iniquitous 
career  of  their  reckless  leader. 

The  Bangwaketse  made  a  timely  discovery  of  the  danger 
which  threatened  them,  and  the  energetic  Makaba  proved  him- 
self a  warrior  worthy  of  their  steel.  Both  he  and  his  people 
manifested  considerable  military  skiU  and  courage  in  the  resist- 
ance they  made  against  the  attacks  of  Bloem.  They  raised  high 
walls  across  the  passes  between  the  mountains,  leaving  small 
openings  in  them  like  gates,  which  could  easUy  be  closed  at  the 
approach  of  an  enemy.  Many  lay  in  ambush,  while  others  were 
stationed  on  the  tops  of  the  mountains,  and  roUed  down  great 
stones  upon  their  assailants.  So  effectual  was  the  resistance 
which  they  made  that  he  did  not  capture  a  single  beast  from  the 
Bangwaketse,  though  he  took  thousands  from  the  Batlapin  and 

The  chief  of  the  Springboks  died  shortly  after  this  repulse, 
in  consequence,  it  is  said,  of  drinking  from  a  fountain,  the  water 
of  which  was  supposed  to  have  been  poisoned  by  the  Bangwa- 
ketse ;  and  when  d5dng  he  declared  his  belief  in  this  being  the 
cause  of  his  death.  He  could  neither  read  nor  write,  and  not- 
withstanding the  many  atrocities  which  he  committed,  and  the 
scenes  of  rapine  and  bloodshed  in  which  he  seemed  to  take  such 
dehght,  he  presented  one  of  those  strange  contradictions  of 
character  sometimes  met  with,  by  pretending  to  have  consider- 
able respect  for  religion,  and  by  an  occasional  indulgence  in 
devotional  exercises. 

In  this  disastrous  expedition  the  Koranas  lost  many  of  their 
people,  among  whom  was  'Kuri'ke,  the^father  of  'Hanube,  chief  of 
the  clan  residing  at  'Tshopo.  'Hanube  was  about  twenty  years 
old  at  the  time  of  his  father's  death.  This  lesson  appears  to  have 
been"  sufficient  for  them,  and  there  is  no  record  of  any  second 
attempt  being  made  on  the  herds  of  the  Bangwaketse  by  the 
Koranas  for  a  long  series  of  years. 

Molehabangwe,  the  great  chief  of  the  Batlapin,  informed 
Messrs.  Truter  and  Somerville  that  a  few  years  before  their  visit, 
in  1801,  he  and  his  people  had  been  attacked  by  Bloem  and  his 
party,  armed  with  muskets,  that  their  habitations  had  been  burnt 
and  destroyed,  and  most  of  their  women  and  children  cruelly 

292  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

murdered,  some  sacrificed  in  the  flames,  and  the  greater  part  of 
their  cattle  captured.  They  were  compelled  to  succumb,  though 
those  who  attacked  them  were  fewer  in  number,  owing  to  the 
irrferiority  of  their  arms.  Muntch,  the  son  of  Intshe,  the 
Ostrich,  was  engaged  in  this  combat,  and  was  nearly  surrounded. 
He  fled,  and  was  closely  pursued  by  the  Koranas,  but  although 
their  arrows  flew  thickly  round  him  he  managed  to  escape.  He  also, 
Uke  his  father,  sought  refuge  among  the  Bushmen  for  a  short  time. 

During  this  period  another  outlying  branch  of  the  Batlapin 
was  attacked  and  despoiled  by  some  of  the  Korana  clans.  The 
Mutsheng,  at  that  time,  occupied  a  tract  of  country  near  the 
Langeberg,  three  days'  journey  to  the  south-west  of  Lithako. 
They  possessed  a  considerable  number  of  cattle  until  they  were 
attacked  by  the  Koranas  on  this  occasion,  who  deprived  them  at 
one  stroke  of  aU  their  means  of  subsistence,  and  obliged  them  to 
live  on  roots,  wild  berries,  gum,  locusts,  white  ants,  and  other 
insects.  They  occasionally  caught  a  koodoo,  but  the  toil  was 
great,  the  chase  before  they  could  capture  it  sometimes  occupying 
two  or  three  days.  Sitlori,  who  gave  this  information,  was 
twelve  years  old  when  Kok,  the  old  Griqua  captain,  first  came 
in  their  neighbourhood.  He  then  lived  far  down  the  Great  river, 
and  had  come  up  to  the  Langeberg  on  a  hunting  expedition.  He 
visited  Sitlori's  father's  hut,  and  noticing  their  great  poverty, 
invited  some  of  the  members  of  the  family  to  go  with  him  to 
assist  in  herding  his  sheep,  a  fact  which  would  seem  to  indicate 
that  Kok's  retainers  at  the  time  could  not  have  been  very 

It  is  authoritatively  asserted  that  since  the  early  days  of  the 
Korana  occupation  of  the  portion  of  the  country  we  are  now 
speaking  of,  a  great  alteration  has  taken  place  in  its  water  supply. 
Then,  the  Kuniman  is  declared  to  have  been  a  great  river,  which 
sometimes  rose  and  continued  high  so  long  that  women  who 
happened  to  be  on  the  other  side  at  the  time  of  its  rise  frequently 
lost  all  hope  of  being  able  to  recross  it,  and  in  their  despair 
married  other  men.  It  is  also  asserted  that  great  quantities  of 
reeds  grew  in  it.  Much  water  is  said  to  have  come  down  from 
the  Malopo,  which  formed  a  junction  near  the  Korana  village, 
as  well  as  down  another  river  called  Misari.  The  Koranas  stated 
that  the  Batlaru  dried  up  the  rivers  by  witchcraft. 


The  Korana  clans  which  penetrated  farthest  to  the  north 
were  portions  of  the  Taaibosches  and  the  Scorpions.  So  success- 
ful had  they  been  in  their  forays  that  they  were  obliged,  in  1820, 
to  separate  themselves  into  three  divisions,  the  most  numerous 
of  these  residing  at  Mobati  with  their  chief.  This  place  and 
Malapitze  were  their  two  great  centres  in  those  days,  while  minor 
clans  were  spread  all  over  the  country  through  which  they  had 
passed.  The  restless  members  of  the  tribe  gathered  along  this 
frontier,  and  strengthened  the  clans  which  had  taken  up  their 
position  there.  It  was  here  that  they  could  indulge  in  their 
national  proclivities  for  raiding  and  feasting  with  least  risk  to 
themselves  and  the  almost  certainty  of  success.  They  were  at 
this  period  at  the  height  of  their  fame  ;  the  Griqua  power  and 
territorial  assumptions  had  scarcely  germed,  much  less  developed 
sufficiently  to  overshadow,  as  it  subsequently  did,  many  of  their 
clans.  But  it  was  not  this  growth  of  Griqua  power  alone  which 
contributed  to  and  hastened  their  decadence.  Virulent  disease 
shortly  afterwards  decimated  them,  and  committed  greater 
havoc  in  their  villages  than  either  the  muskets  or  assagais  of 
their  enemies. 

In  1820  parties  of  Koranas  had  established  themselves  along 
the  eastern  border  of  the  Kalahari,  as  far  north  as  a  place  called 
Mutshuana,  on  the  Kuruman  river.  The  people  of  this  place 
were  under  one  of  their  own  captains,  called  Hanno  'Kano,  "  no 
cattle."  A  second  kraal,  a  short  distance  from  the  above,  was 
under  another  captain,  called  'Tky,  possessing  also  the  sobriquet 
of  Moriakotu,  or  Korana  medicine.  The  people  ur\der  these 
captains  were  once  as  numerous  as  the  Batlapin  themselves, 
but  the  measles  came  among  them  and  proved  so  fatal  that  they 
were  reduced  to  a  very  small  number.  Thirty-four  men,  who 
were  nearly  all  the  males  that  survived  this  terrible  visitation, 
went  against  the  Batlou,  Tamahas,  and  Toimans,  by  invitation 
of  the  Batlapin,  between  1806  and  1808.  The  Batlaru  or  Lahize's 
people  joined  also  in  the  expedition  with  the  Batlapin.  When 
the  battle  was  at  its  height,  the  Batlapin  and  Batlaru  fled, 
leaving  the  Koranas  nearly  surrounded  by  the  enemy.  Thirty  of 
them  were  cut  off,  and  only  four  escaped.  One  of  the  latter 
managed  to  do  so  before  his  party  was  completely  surrounded, 
the  others  remained  together,  defending  themselves  to  the   last. 

294  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

There  was  also  in  these  parts  another  considerable  kraal  at 
'Tshopo,  to  which  allusion  has  already  been  made.  Besides  these, 
kraals  were  spread  along  the  Vaal  river  between  the  Maquassies' 
spruit  and  the  embouchure  of  the  Kolong,  as  weU  as  between  the 
latter  and  the  junction  of  the  'Gij  'Gariep  with  the  Great  river. 
At  Modderfontein,  kraals  of  Koranas  and  Bushmen  were  living 
in  apparent  friendship,  although  in  close  proximity  to  one  another  ; 
the  name  of  the  captain  of  the  former  was  Ilapaim  and  of  the 
latter  'Caricoup.  Near  the  banks  of  the  river  another  Korana 
horde  was  met  with,  near  a  spot  named  t'Jokohama,  under  a 
captain  called  Slaparm,  who  in  1801  offered  himself  as  a  guide 
to  Mr.  Borcherds'  party  as  far  as  Jonker's-fontein.  Between  this 
last  place  and  the  Karee  mountains  these  travellers  met  no  more 
Koranas,  but  several  hordes  of  Bushmen,  some  of  whom,  as  their 
sugar  was  consumed,  supplied  them  with  beautiful  honey.  The 
travellers  thus  gained  their  confidence  and  some  of  them  followed 
the  waggons,  a  fact  which  showed  that  even  at  that  time,  when 
they  were  most  maligned,  a  fair  reward  would  secure  the  willing 
services  of  these  wild  huntsmen. 

The  foregoing  shows  that  by  1801  the  clans  of  the  Middle  Veld 
had  entirely  evacuated  their  old  camping  grounds,  and  were  now 
spread  over  an  immense  extent  of  country,  from  the  t'Keys  drift, 
where  several  hordes  and  kraals  of  Koranas  were  found,  to  the 
eastern  border  of  the  Kalahari,  north  of  the  Kurimian  river. 

As  the  race  thus  extended,  the  subdivision  of  their  clans 
continued  to  increase,  but  in  the  present  day  the  names  of  many 
of  them  appear  to  be  lost,  and  the  following  is  the  most  extensive 
list  which  could  be  obtained  from  reliable  sources.  Some  of  the 
old  Korana  authorities  assert  that  the  ancient  name  of  the  Great 
Koranas  was  a  word  signifying  the  Toovenaars,  or  the  Wizards 
or  Sorcerers,  and  that  all  the  other  clans  or  offshoots  sprang  from 
them  ;  that  afterwards  the  eldest  branch  of  these  Toovenaars  or 
Great  Koranas,  or  rather  that  of  the  paramount  chief,  obtained 
the  name  of  the  Taaibosches  or  'Gou'naap's  Koranas,  from  the 
sobriquet  of  one  of  their  great  chiefs,  although  they  still  remained 
and  considered  themselves  Toovenaars. 

The  next  in  rank  to  them  came  the  Links  stem,  those  of  the 
left  stem,  or  those  standing  to  the  left.  These  people  had  also 
a  chief  named  Links  ;  the  name  therefore  might  mean  those  of  the 


stem  of  Links.  If  asked,  however,  to  what  part  of  the  Korana 
tribe  he  belongs,  a  Links  Korana  will  always  call  himself  a  Too- 
venaar,  proving  that  he  does  not  consider  his  branch  as  com- 
pletely severed  from  the  parent  stock. 

The  same  may  be  said  of  the  next  great  branch,  called  the 
'Gaap  and  'Twua-'kne  or  Katse  people.  This  last  title  is  said  to 
have  been  given  on  account  of  these  people  having  pursued  a 
hartebeest  across  a  ford  called  the  Kat  ford  on  the  'Taba-'Taepoep, 
or  Kat  river. 

The  next  powerful  branch  of  the  old  stock  was  the  Springboks, 
so  called  on  account  of  their  being  numerous  like  that  animal. 

5.  The  Scorpions.  The  reason  for  this  name  and  those  which 
follow  has  not  been  given. 

6.  The  'Kow-'kais,  'Kow-'cu'ga,  or  the  Zeekoes,  i.e.  the 

7.  The  Zee-koes  dragers,  the  Bearers  of  Sea-cows  or  Hippo- 

8.  The  Regt-Staanders,  those  who  stand  for  the  right.  These 
people  have  obtained  the  name  of  the  Goliaths,  from  one  of  their 

9.  The  Oo-'kena  or  Scar-june. 

10.  The  Gomtena. 

All  these  appear  to  be  the  nearest  branches  of  the  main  stem, 
those  which  follow  are  probably  more  distant,  as  the  connecting 
link  has  not  been  preserved. 

11.  The  Hooge-Staanders,  those  who  stand  high. 

12.  The  Papieren,  i.e.  the  Papers. 

13.  The  'Cabus'que,  the  Stabbers. 

14.  The  Kaross  Dragers,  the  Carriers  or  Wearers  of  Karosses. 

15.  The  Naauwe  Wangen,  the  Narrow-cheeks. 

16.  The  Boek  brieven,  the  Book-letters. 

17.  The  Snyers,  the  Cutters,  or  Tailors. 

18.  The  Hoogten,  the  Heights. 

19.  The  Koker-boomen,  the  Quiver-trees,  from  the  species  of 
aloe  from  which  the  Bushmen  make  their  quivers. 

20.  The  Spinnekop  Zoekers,  the  Searchers  for  Spiders. 

21.  The  'Kannis-geis,  and 

22.  The  Ratten,  or  the  Rats. 

In  the  titles  of  the  foregoing  clans  we  at  once  perceive  that 


the  contact  of  the  Koranas  with  Dutch  speaking  people  is  clearly- 
made  manifest,  but  in  1812-13  personal  names,  or  those  of  indi- 
viduals, stm  remained  of  pure  Kora  origin,  as  the  following  ex- 
amples wiU  show. 

'Ka-een-de-hare,  meaning  lively  sunshine. 
'Koo-'rhe,  meaning  a  white  stone. 
Moo-'que,  meaning  to  see  a  thing  right. 
'Che-be-a,  meaning     ? 
'Keis-se-'cha,  meaning  foremost. 
'Te-oon-havel,  meaning  an  unsuccessful  hunt. 
Moo-'kha,  meaning  sharp  sight. 

From  the  above  we  find  the  effect  which  their  intercourse 
with  Dutch-speaking  Bastaards,  alias  Griquas,  and  such  colonial 
outlaws  as  took  refuge  among  their  clans,  had  upon  their  tribal 
nomenclature,  while  with  regard  to  the  names  of  the  great  mass 
of  the  people  it  had  exercised  little  or  no^infiuence  at  all.  This 
is  interesting,  as  it  so  well  illustrates  how  such  additions  and 
variations  in  names  become  a  powerful  evidence  and  proof 
of  contact  between  races  speaking  different  languages,  and  thus 
frequently  afford  means  of  unravelling  the  true  history  of  a 
nation,  even  in  times  far  removed  from  the  present.  The  Griquas 
wiU  be  found  to  afford  another  instance  of  the  case  in  point,  but 
as  their  connection  was  of  a  closer  character,  and  of  long  dura- 
tion, the  impress  of  the  Dutch  influence  is  more  marked  and 

In  the  same  manner,  should  we  meet  a  Kaffir  priding  himself 
in  the  name  of  Klaas,  Piet,  or  Jantje,  we  should  imagine  that 
either  he  or  his  friends  who  gave  him  the  cognomen  had  been  in 
the  service  of  the  Dutch  ;  whereas  if  he  were  known  as  Tom, 
Dick,  John,  or  Jim,  we  should  say  that  he  must  have  been  at  one 
time  under  an  influence  decidedly  English.  This  is  a  fact  which 
it  will  be  well  to  bear  in  mind  when  treating  of  some  of  the  other 
South  African  races. 


Frequent  intermarriages  took  place  between  the  Koranas  and 
Batlapin  during  the  period  of  the  ascendancy  of  the  former,  not 
only  among  the  commoner  people,  but  some  even  of  the  Batlapin 


chiefs  selected  their  wives  from  among  the  daughters  of  the 
Korana  captains.  These  intimate  relations  gave  rise  to  the 
introduction  of  a  number  of  words  of  mixed  origin  into  the 
vocabularies  of  both  people,  which  was  the  more  noticeable  in 
proper  names,  whether  of  individuals  or  of  localities.  This 
partial  blending  among  the  border  clans  may  have  been  encou- 
raged by  the  less  formidable  and  victimized  Bachoana  from 
motives  of  policy,  while  on  the  side  of  the  Korana  any  efforts 
at  conciliation  were  deemed  almost  supererogatory.  It  was 
however  during  this  period  of  Korana  exaltation  that  the  race 
of  their  paramount  chiefs,  both  from  their  matrimonial  alliances 
and  the  extent  of  their  conquests,  rose  to  the  highest  pinnacle 
of  their  greatness,  and  that  the  influence  of  their  people,  the 
Toovenaars  and  their  branches,  extended  over  a  greater  expanse 
of  country  than  at  any  other  time. 

From  the  accompanying  genealogy  it  will  be  seen  that  it  can 
scarcely  be  doubted  but  that  these  Taaibosches  were  in  reality 
the  lineal  descendants  and  representatives  of  their  ancient  chief 
Kora.  Their  early  history  at  the  Cape  has  already  been  de- 
tailed. Their  career  in  the  Middle  Veld  is  lost  in  obHvion,  but 
was  doubtless  filled  up  with  internecine  feuds  and  petty  cattle 
raids  upon  their  neighbours'  kraals,  such  as  have  been  described  ; 
and  it  was  only  after  their  passage  of  the  'Gariep  that  they  once 
more  emerged  from  the  obscurity  in  which  they  had  been  en- 
veloped for  several  generations. 

After  the  treacherous  attack  of  the  Barolong  chief  upon 
them,  and  their  rapid  and  victorious  advance  into  the  Bachoana 
country,  they  appear  to  have  fixed  their  headquarters  on  the 
Ma'kaab  river,  at  a  place  called  Malapeetze  or  Malapitze  (the 
Quagga's  placenta)  by  the  Batlapin,  and  Ma-kholoyank  or 
Taaibosch's  kraal  by  the  Koranas.  It  appears  to  have  been 
from  this  centre  that  the  tribe  threw  off,  from  time  to  time,  so 
many  offshoots,  which  the  increase  of  population  or  the  develop- 
ment of  rival  assumptions  rendered  imperative  and  inevitable. 
It  was  from  this  point  also  that  aU  their  great  expeditions  against 
the  peace  and  property  of  the  interior  tribes  emanated. 

By  1812-13  the  nimiber  of  inhabitants  at  the  great  kraal  of 
the  Taaibosches,  owing  to  subdivisions  of  the  tribe  and  the  fatal 
visitations  of  measles  before  alluded  to,  had  commenced  declining 










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considerably.  The  kraal  was  then  composed  of  some  fifty-six  huts, 
and  contained  about  three  hundred  inhabitants.  They,  however, 
possessed  two  thousand  cows  at  this,  and  as  jmany  more  at 
two  outstations.  They  were  then  living,  like  their  forefathers, 
almost  entirely  on  their  cattle,  more  especially  on  their  milk  ; 
so  that  such  a  state  of  affairs,  although  they  were  then  small 
in  numbers,  was  to  them  a  Korana  paradise,  they  having  Httle 
else  to  do  than  to  milk  their  cows.  Many  of  them  at  this  time 
had  become  possessed  of  firearms  and  horses,  which,  notwith- 
standing their  diminished  numbers  in  men,  rendered  some  of 
their  clans  even  more  dangerous  and  formidable  than  they  were 
before  to  their  Bachoana  and  Basutu  neighbours.  Their  old 
national  indolence  stuck  to  them,  and  even  at  this  date  they 
obtained  their  assagais  and  skin  karosses  from  the  Batlapin. 

These  Koranas  were  formerly  under  the  government  of  two 
brothers,  who,  not  agreeing,  separated,  one  removing  and  taking 
possession  of  the  old  Barolong  station  at  Taung.  Here,  for- 
getting the  lessons  of  the  past,  one  of  the  sons  of  old  Taaibosch 
determined,  although  strongly  advised  against  so  hazardous  an 
attempt,  to  make  another  raid  against  the  Bangwaketse  ;  but, 
upon  reaching  their  destination,  he  and  his  party  fell  into  an 
ambuscade  and  were  slain  to  a  man. 

With  disaster  and  repulse  the  bitterness  of  their  mutual 
feuds  increased.  At  a  later  period  the  advance  of  the  formidable 
Mantatee  horde  spread  terror  amongst  them  and  scattered  many 
of  the  smaller  clans  ;  others  took  to  flight  until  the  storm  was 
over,  and  then  returned  to  their  former  camping-grounds.  Among 
these  were  such  petty  captains  as  'Chu'deep  and  Ban'tze,  'Chuboo 
and  'Keideboo'kei,  living  on  the  banks  of  the  Vaal  or'Gij-'Gariep 
a  little  below  the  junction  of  Maquassie's  Spruit. 

Notwithstanding  their  discomfiture  and  their  subsequent 
troubles,  upon  the  advance  of  the  Matabili  into  the  old  country 
of  the  Bakuena  between  the  Magaliesberg  and  the  Limpopo, 
the  enormous  herds  of  cattle  in  their  possession  proved  too  great 
a  temptation  to  the  acquisitiveness  of  these  restless  marauders  ; 
they  therefore  made  one  or  two  daring  attempts  to  seize  some 
of  the  much  coveted  booty  at  the  most  exposed  outstations  of 
the  Great  Elephant,  as  Moselekatze  delighted  to  be  called.  On 
a  few  occasions  they  were  successful,  but  on  two  or  three  others 


they  were  suddenly  overtaken  in  their  retreat,  their  bivouac, 
when  they  were  most  confident  of  success,  was  surprised  and 
stormed  in  the  dead  of  night,  and  the  ruthless  Matabili  assagais 
weltered  in  Korana  blood  until  scarcely  one  escaped  to  teU  the 
terrible  tale. 

Taung  was  then  occupied  by  the  Great  Koranas  under  their 
chief  Jan  Taaibosch,  afterwards  generally  called  Jan  Kaptein. 
He  was  still  a  great  chief,  and  his  people  hved  in  the  country  to 
the  left  of  the  Malalarene  or  Kolong.  It  was  with  his  permission 
that  several  large  kraals  of  Batlapin  belonging  to  Mothibi  settled 
in  portions  of  the  same  country.  Some  ten  or  twelve  miles 
lower  down  the  Barolong,  after  abandoning  Maquassie,  had 
located  themselves  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Great  Platberg. 
Lower  down  the  'Gij  'Gariep  or  Vaal  there  were  many  petty 
Korana  chiefs  of  the  clans  called  the  Ratten,  Zeekoes,  Scorpions, 
and  also  the  Springboks,  of  which  last  Jan  Bloem  the  younger 
was  captain.  The  Bushman  chief  'Kousop,  and  afterwards  his 
son  Scheel  Kobus,  lived  on  the  southern  side  of  the  Vaal  river, 
while  their  acknowledged  territories  extended  far  to  the  right 
of  the  Riet  and  Modder  rivers  in  the  south. 

Such  then  was  the  position  of  the  various  tribes  who  were  the 
immediate  neighbours  of  the  great  clan  of  the  Taaibosches,  when 
a  complication  of  circumstances,  such  as  a  long  series  of  severe 
droughts,  the  increasing  turbulence  of  the  country,  the  threatened 
attacks  of  the  Matabili  on  the  one  hand  and  the  Bergenaars  on 
the  other,  tended  to  accelerate  a  general  migration  towards  the 
more  mountainous  parts  of  the  country  in  the  east,  although 
some  vague  expressions  were  beginning  to  be  used,  styling  it 
Moshesh's  country.  Few  Basutus  were  living  in  it,  principally 
in  consequence  of  the  devastating  wars  occasioned  by  Mosele- 
katze,  Sikoniela,  the  Amazulu,  and  others.  In  the  midst  of 
this,  not  only  Moroko  with  his  Barolong  left  the  Platberg,  accom- 
panied by  his  missionary,  the  Rev.  Mr.Archbell,  and  stationed 
themselves  at  Thaba  Nchu,  but  even  the  Korana  chief  Jan 
Taaibosch  migrated  in  the  same  direction. 

This,  however,  was  not  so  much  in  consequence  of  the  causes 
above  mentioned,  as  from  the  continuous  feuds  which  were  ever 
raging,  except  when  some  common  danger  threatened  the  entire 
tribe,  among  the  rival  clans  of  which  it  was  composed.    On  this 


occasion  a  quarrel  had  arisen  between  the  paramount  chief  and 
the  GoUaths,  or  as  they  boastfully  styled  themselves  the  Hooge- 
Staanders,  or  those  who  stood  high,  under  the  captain  Goliath 
Ysterbek,  his  cousin.  The  rivalry  was  at  length  carried  to 
such  extremes  that  a  civil  war  broke  out  between  them,  when  in 
a  battle  which  ensued  the  paramount  chief  Jan  Taaibosch  was 
defeated,  and  his  clansmen  were  put  to  flight.  In  his  retreat  he 
evacuated  Taung  with  the  greater  part  of  his  followers,  and 
moved  with  them  in  the  direction  of  the  present  Koranaberg, 
settling  first  at  Umpukani,  afterwards  at  Merumetsu,  leaving  the 
captain  Rijt  Taaibosch  behind  him  to  look  after  that  portion  of 
the  clan  that  did  not  remove.  It  was  after  this  that  Rijt  Taai- 
bosch assumed  the  title  of  Korana  chief  of  Mamusa. 

Moshesh,  in  those  days,  was  only  too  satisfied  to  see  other 
tribes,  even  under  their  own  chiefs  and  government,  flocking 
into  the  country  and  forming  a  kind  of  cordon  around  the  thinly 
populated  and  circumscribed  tract  which  could  then  with  any 
show  of  reality  be  styled  the  territories  of  the  chief  of  the  moun- 
tain ;  and  as  he  well  knew  that  they  would  form  an  outer  shield 
against  the  depredations  of  the  Bergenaars  on  the  one  side  and 
the  more  dreaded  attacks  of  the  Matabili  on  the  other,  they  were 
welcome  to  fix  themselves  in  any  position  of  comparative  danger 
they  chose  to  occupy. 

If  we  refer  for  a  moment  to  the  foregoing  account  of  the 
migrations  of  these  Koranas  to  the  northward,  we  shall  observe 
that  after  the  first  few  years  of  their  intrusion,  no  further  notice 
is  taken  of  the  Bushmen  :  they  had  either  become  absorbed  by 
some  of  the  invading  clans,  or  had  been  nearly  annihilated  by 
others.  The  attention  of  these  northern  Koranas  had  been  more 
immediately  bestowed  upon  the  acquisition  of  cattle,  and  of 
course  upon  those  races  possessing  them.  We  shall  find,  how- 
ever, that  along  the  eastern  line  of  migration  the  case  was 
different,  and  that  the  work  of  extermination  was  being  carried 
on  with  cruel  and  stem  activity. 

Even  among  those  whose  movements  we  have  now  been 
discussing,  there  were  three  different  modes  of  treatment  which 
the  Bushmen  received  at  their  hands.  Thus  the  one,  such  as 
the  Katse  people^  fraternised  and  intermarried  with  them  after 
their  first  wars  had  ended  ;  others  again,  such  as  the  t'Keys, 

302  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

although  hving  distinct,  still  kept  up  a  kind  of  friendly  alliance 
with  them  ;  but,  by  far  the  greater  portion,  especially  among  the 
richer  clans,  there  was  a  deep-rooted  and  never-dying  animosity 
evinced  against  them. 

Leonard  Jagers  was  a  fit  representative  of  one  of  this  class, 
and  with  his  evidence  we  will  close  this  section  of  our  subject. 
From  it,  however,  we  shall  see  that  the  old  hunter  race  was  stiU 
unconquered,  and  that  although  the  war  of  races  had  become 
intensified  and  hereditary,  as  is  but  too  clearly  shown  by  the 
tone  of  bitterness  which  runs  through  Jagers'  descriptions,  still 
true  to  the  traditions  of  their  nation,  the  descendants  of  the 
ancient  cave  dwellers  remained  resolute  and  undaunted  to  the 
last.  Harassed  and  driven  from  one  part  of  their  ancient  hunt- 
ing-grounds to  another,  they  seemed  as  if,  finding  that  they 
could  not  drive  the  intruders  back  again,  a  wild  and  uncontrol- 
lable spirit  of  revenge  was  taking  possession  of  them,  while  the 
greater  portion  of  their  enemies  appeared  to  have  formed  the 
determination  to  extirpate  them  from  the  face  of  the  earth. 

When  I  was  a  boy,  said  the  old  Toovenaar,  I  was  herding 
the  cattle  of  the  Gohaths,  and  whilst  in  the  veld  the  Bushmen 
of  the  mountains  gathered  themselves  together.  They  were  the 
men  who  fought  with  the  short  bow  and  little  arrows,  and  not 
like  the  Bushmen  of  the  Langeberg,  who  carried  a  long  bow  for 
hunting  or  for  war. 

The  Koranas  do  not  always  go  out  with  their  cattle,  but 
drive  them  to  the  field  in  the  morning,  and  at  noon  send  their 
youths  to  look  after  them.  At  this  time  when  they  sent,  thfe 
cattle  could  not  be  found,  more  than  half  had  been  seized  and 
carried  off  by  the  Bushmen.  This  was  from  the  banks  of  the 
'Gumaap,"^  or  Great  Riet  river,  a  confluent  of  the  'Gij  'Gariep ; 
thence  the  Bushmen  drove  them  off  to  the  mountains,  where  a 
spitzkop  rose  above  the  others.  On  the  top  of  this  high  moun- 
tain the  Bushmen  drove  the  cattle.  Here  they  commenced 
slaughtering,  and  feasting  on  the  carcasses.   And  when  the  cattle 

1  Leonard  Jagers  stated  that  the  Koranas  and  others  call  this  river, 
below  the  junction  of  the  Modder  and  Riet,  the  'Gumaap,  or  Great  Reed 
river,  'Gumaap  signifying  Reed  or  Reeds.  The  name  is  far  more  appro- 
priate than  that  put  down  in  EngUsh  maps,  viz.  the  Modder  or  Mud,  as 
there  is  not  a  single  bank  of  mud  to  be  found  between  the  junction  and 
its  mouth. 


were  missed  the  people  (Koranas)  took  up  the  spoor,  and  follow- 
ing it  got  upon  the  trail  of  the  Bushmen,  and  traced  them  to  the 
mountain.  Then  the  Koranas  got  together  their  fighting  men. 
In  those  days  the  Koranas  had  guns,  and  some  had  horses,  and 
they  got  together  horsemen  and  footmen  and  went  towards  the 

In  the  night  they  saw  the  fires  of  the  Bushmen,  and  heard  the 
noise  of  the  feasting.  Those  that  had  horses  left  them  at  the 
foot  of  the  mountain,  and  in  the  stillness  of  the  night  they 
climbed  up  the  sides  and  concealed  themselves  in  the  rocks 
around  the  edge  of  the  flat  top  until  the  day  began  to  dawn. 
Then  the  Bushmen  were  aroused  by  the  Koranas  firing  upon 
them.  There  was  a  large  camp  of  the  Bushmen,  and  they  had 
lived  upon  the  top  of  the  mountain  for  a  long  time  with  their 
wives  and  their  children,  and  it  was  a  great  town. 

When  the  firing  began,  the  Bushmen  arose  and  tried  to  drive 
the  Koranas  back,  and  they  fought  and  fought,  but  it  did  not 
help  them.  And  when  they  would  have  fled,  they  found  they 
were  surrounded,  and  there  were  slain  that  day  a  great  number, 
and  few  escaped.  The  women  and  children  were  killed  together, 
and  but  few  men  escaped.  The  Koranas  found  that  all  their 
cattle  were  stabbed  and  shot  to  death,  and  none  remained  for 
them  to  recover.  On  that  day  no  Korana  was  injured  or  slain, 
but  the  Bushmen  fell  in  great  numbers. 

After  this  there  were  two  other  wars  ;  and  the  Bushmen 
caught  two  young  Koranas  ia  the  field  and  murdered  them. 
When  it  was  discovered,  the  Koranas  followed  after  them,  and 
overtook  and  surrounded  them.  On  that  day  a  Korana  was 
slain ;  he  was  a  man  of  great  size,  and  a  Bushinan  ran  and  shot 
him  in  his  side,  and  he  fell  dead,  for  the  poison  was  so  strong 
that  he  remained  on  the  spot.  After  this  there  was  yet  another 
war.  The  Bushmen  seized  the  cattle  and  the  Koranas  followed 
after  them  ;  and  again  another  Korana  was  shot.  The  arrow 
struck  him  on  the  cheek,  and  he  died  there  from  the  poison  upon 
the  arrow  as  soon  as  he  was  shot. 

In  those  days  the  land  was  full  of  quaggas,  and  the  Koranas 
"when  they  saw  them  were  alarmed  and  hastened  to  the  plains, 
for  they  knew  that  the  Bushmen  must  be  amongst  them ;  and 
they  hunted  the  Bushmen  and  destroyed  them  when  they  came 

304  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

upon  them,  for  they  were  a  wild  and  perverse  race  that  could 
not  be  tamed.  '    ^  , 

The  Bushmen  used  disguises,  and  sometimes  they  appeared 
as  wild  bucks  and  sometimes  as  birds  ;  they  fastened  the  heads 
of  bucks  upon  their  shoulders,  and  covered  themselves  with  the 
skins  of  the  ostrich.  They  walked  as  if  the  ostrich  were  walking, 
and  they  carried  their  bows  and  arrows  ready  with  them.  When 
the  Koranas  went  out  into  the  field,  if  they  were  alone,  the  Bush- 
men would  waylay  them.  And  if  a  Korana  did  not  return  home 
in  the  evening  they  knew  that  the  Bushmen  had  killed  him  and 
that  they  would  find  him  dead  in  the  morning. 

Three  Koranas,  armed  with  guns,  rode  out  into  the  plains 
to  look  for  the  horses  of  the  kraal,  and  when  they  had  found  them, 
one  turned  to  drive  them  back  to  the  kraal  and  the  other  two 
continued  in  the  plain  to  hunt  quaggas.  A  Bushman  who  was 
concealed,  seeing  that  one  Korana  was  returning  alone  with  the 
horses,  hastened  to  hide  himself  in  the  path.  The  Korana  that 
was  with  them,  when  he  saw  the  horses  were  turned  out  of  the 
path  and  that  a  Bushman  was  before  him,  was  seized  with  a 
deadly  fear,  and  when  he  saw  the  Bushman  he  turned  his  horse 
and  fled  as  hard  as  he  could  ride,  with  the  gim  in  his  hand.  When 
the  Bushman  saw  that  the  Korana  had  turned  and  fled,  he 
quickly  caught  a  grey  riding  horse  that  was  a  swift  nmner,  and 
mounted  upon  him  and  pursued  the  Korana  ;  and  they  both 
rode  as  hard  as  they  could,  and  the  Bushman  overtook  the 
Korana,  for  the  grey  riding  horse  was  the  swiftest  one  of  the 
kraal.  The  Bushman  seized  hold  of  the  gun  of  the  Korana,  and 
they  rode  and  struggled  together,  and  the  Bushman  wrenched 
the  gun  from  the  hand  of  the  Korana,  and  such  was  the  fear  of 
the  Korana  that  he  forgot  to  put  his  finger  on  the  trigger  of  his 
gun  to  shoot  the  Bushman. 

When  the  Korana  found  that  the  Bushman  had  taken  his 
gim  from  him,  he  threw  himself  from  his  horse  and  ran  towards 
the  mountain,  hoping  to  hide  himself  among  the  rocks  away 
from  the  Bushman  ;  but  the  Bushman  threw  himself  also  from 
his  horse.  The  Korana  dodged  round  a  bush  to  escape  the 
Bushman,  and  the  Korana  was  on  one  side  of  the  bush  and  the 
Bushman  on  the  other.  He  shot  the  Korana  with  his  own  gun, 
and  the  ball  went  through  his  head.     When  the  Korana's  two 


friends  returned  from  following  the  quaggas  they  found  him 
dead,  and  the  Bushman  had  escaped  with  the  gun. 

But  a  short  time  after,  the  Bushman,  rendered  presumptuous 
and  daring  by  the  possession  of  the  gun,  went  to  steal  the  horses 
of  a  Boer^  by  night,  and  the  great  dogs  of  the  Boer  attacked 
him  and  tore  him  to  pieces,  and  in  the  morning  his  body  was 
found  torn  to  pieces  and  the  gun  by  the  side  of  it. 

In  those  days  the  Bushmen  were  very  vicious,  and  the 
Koranas  had  to  hunt  them  down  as  they  would  any  other  wild 
animal,  that  there  might  be  some  quiet  in  the  land.  They  were 
like  wild  animals  which  nothing  could  tame.  Thus  it  was,  con- 
tinued Jagers,  when  I  was  a  young  man,  and  I  but  just  escaped 
from  the  hands  of  a  Bushman  myself.  One  of  the  horses  having 
strayed,  I  went  in  search  of  it,  and  saw  it  near  the  side  of  a 
neighbouring  hill.  When  I  was  getting  near  it,  I  saw  the  head 
of  a  Bushman  rise  suddenly  above  the  long  grass,  right  in  the 
path  I  had  to  go.  It  was  but  for  a  moment  that  I  caught  sight 
of  him,  and  I  at  once  saw  that  he  was  one  of  the  smaU  kind  that 
wore  their  arrows  sticking  out  from  a  fillet  round  their  heads, 
and  who  are  aU  wild  and  untamable. 

I  knew  at  once  that  he  intended  to  waylay  me  as  I  approached 
the  horse,  and  would  shoot  me  as  soon  as  I  got  nearer  ;  and  also 
that  if  I  allowed  him  to  think  I  had  caught  sight  of  him  I  should 
have  no  chance  of  escape,  for  they  are  swift  rimners.  They  run 
like  a  horse,  and  in  broken  rocky  ground  no  horse  has  a  chance 
of  overtaking  them.  They  bound  along,  and  when  once  among 
the  rocks  are  like  the  khpspringers  or  baboons  ;  they  spring  from 
rock  to  rock  without  fear  of  falling.  Therefore  to  turn  and  rvm 
away  at  once  I  knew  would  never  do,  as  he  would  certainly  over- 
take me.  I  therefore  went  on  a  few  paces  before  I  hesitated ; 
I  then  stopped,  and  felt  my  pouch,  and  then  looked  on  the  ground 
as  if  I  had  dropped  something,  then  went  a  short  distance  back 
and  looked  about  on  the  ground  as  if  I  were  still  searching  for 
something  I  had  lost.  Then  I  went  a  few  steps  towards  the 
Bushman  again,  then  I  retreated  again  on  the  road  a  little  farther 
than  before.    I  continued  this  a  number  of  times,  each  time 

*  This  is  the  first  mention  made  by  a  native  of  the  intrusion  of  Boer 
squatters  into  the  old  hunting  grounds  of  the  Bushmen  north  of  the 
'Nu-'Gariep  or  Orange  river 

3o6  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

getting  farther  away.  This  I  did,  so  that  I  should  not  alarm  the 
Bushman  with  the  idea  that  I  had  seen  him  and  wished  to  escape 
from  him,  but  that  he  might  think  that  I  had  merely  lost  some- 
thing and  was  looking  for  it,  and  when  I  had  found  it  I  should 
again  return  by  the  same  path  for  the  horse  ;  thus  he  would  lie 
quiet  in  the  same  place,  and  not  follow  me. 

When  I  thought  that  by  these  means  I  had  got  far  enough 
from  him  to  have  a  good  start,  I  stooped  down  and  fastened  the 
veldschoens  tightly  on  my  feet,  and  tightened  my  girdle  firmly 
round  my  waist.  I  was  then  young,  and  could  run  as  fast  as 
any  young  man  of  my  tribe,  but  I  knew  that  when  I  once  started 
I  should  have  to  run  for  my  life,  for  a  Bushman  who  wore  arrows 
round  his  head  would  not  spare  me  if  I  were  overtaken.  When 
I  rose  up  I  sprang  forward  at  once,  and  ran  with  all  my  might  in 
the  direction  of  the  Korana  camp.  The  Bushman,  as  soon  as 
he  saw  that  I  fled,  sprang  up  and  came  down  after  me  like  the 
wind,  and  I  ran  as  fast  as  I  could  get  my  feet  to  the  ground, 
and  exerted  all  my  strength,  but  I  found  that  the  Bushman  was 
gaining  upon  me  and  that  it  would  be  hard  for  me  to  escape. 
The  Bushman  still  pressed  me  and  gained  upon  me,  and  I  felt 
that  he  intended  to  come  close  before  he  shot  at  me,  to  make  sure 
that  his  arrrow  would  strike  me  and  there  should  be  no  fear  of 
missing  his  aim.  I  began  to  feel  faint,  but  still  I  ran,  for  I  knew 
that  my  hfe  depended  upon  my  swiftness  ;  and  the  Bushman 
was  still  gaining  upon  me,  and  getting  nearer  and  nearer,  but 
still  I  ran. 

Just  as  I  felt  hope  was  getting  less,  the  men  of  the  camp,  who 
were  on  the  look-out,  saw  me,  and  saw  that  the  Bushman  was 
following  closely  after  me,  and  they  rushed  forward  with  their 
guns  in  their  hands  to  meet  me  as  I  came  on.  They  shouted, 
and  ran  towards  me,  and  the  women  and  children  when  they 
heard  the  alarm  came  streaming  out  of  the  camp,  cr57ing  out 
and  shrieking  as  they  ran  towards  me.  But  the  Bushman  still 
pressed  me  closely,  evidently  determined  to  overtake  me  and 
kill  me  before  they  could  help  me.  But  when  I  saw  my  friends, 
I  sprang  forward  towards  them  with  all  the  strength  I  had; 
but  he  followed  me,  and  it  was  not  until  they  were  close  to  me 
that  he  left  off  pursuing  me.  Then  he  turned  and  fled,  and 
soon  left  the  Koranas  that  followed  far  behind,  for  they  had  no 


horses  near  at  hand,  and  he  ran  faster  than  a  horse,  and  thus, 
he  escaped. 

After  that,  continued  the  Toovenaar,  they  hunted  the  Bush- 
men and  shot  them  that  there  might  be  peace  in  the  land,  for 
the  wild  beasts  and  the  Bushmen  were  ahke,  they  could  not  be 
tamed.  And  the  Koranas  cleared  the  land,  and  then  there  was 

Here  we  have  a  vivid  and  graphic  picture  of  the  treatment 
a  large  portion  of  the  Bushmen  received  at  the  hands  of  the 
northern  Koranas  after  their  intrusion  into  the  Bushman  terri- 
tories of  the  Vaal.  The  evidence  of  this  one  man  would  have 
been  the  evidence  of  hundreds  had  it  been  obtainable.  The 
quiet  he  speaks  of  was  the  quiet  of  annihilation.  It  was  the 
peace  of  death  ! 

The  Migrations  of  the  Koranas  to  the  Eastward,  in  the  basins 
of  the  Orange  and  Caledon  rivers. 

When  the  Korana  hordes  first  crossed  the  'Gariep  and  'Nu- 
'Gariep,  almost  all  their  migrations  were  in  a  northerly  direc- 
tion, especially  along  the  vaUey  of  the  'Gij  'Gariep  to  the  mouth 
of  the  Kolong,  thence  along  the  valley  of  the  latter  river  to  its 
sources  and  that  portion  of  it  called  the  Malalarene.  Up  to  a 
comparatively  recent  period  they  appear  never  to  have  made 
an  effort  to  penetrate  to  any  distance  eastward  of  this  Une,  and 
even  as  late  as  1820  Mr.  Campbell  assures  us  that  no  Koranas 
lived  higher  up  the  'Nu  'Gariep  than  'Kon'nah,  and  there  were 
none  on  the  banks  of  the  'Gij  'Gariep  higher  than  about  four 
days'  journey  above  its  junction  with  the  Kolong  ;  while  to  the 
northward  they  extended  as  far  as  Mo-ba-ti.  In  a  westerly 
direction  they  were  not  found  far  beyond  the  falls  of  the  Great 
river,  near  the  point  where  some  of  the  early  Korana  clans  first 
struck  it,  or  about  halfway  between  the  junction  of  the  'Gij 
and  'Nu  'Gariep  and  Namaqualand.  As  a  rule  the  Koranas 
were  not  desirous  of  leaving  the  banks  of  the  Great  river. 

We  shall  find,  however,  that  they  made  exceptions,  not  only, 
as  we  have  seen,  in  their  expeditions  and  their  settlements  to 
the  north  ;  but  at  a  subsequent  period  also,  after  the  great  wars 
of  Matiwane  and  the  Matabili,  when  so  many  branches  of  the 
Basutu  tribes  had  been  broken  up  and  dispersed,  or  had  fled 
for  refuge  towards  the  mountainous  district  along   the  great 

3o8  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

Maluti  range  in  the  east.  It  was  shortly  after  this  time  that 
the  Koranas  commenced  to  extend  their  marauding  inroads  in 
that  direction.  The  expeditions  and  ravages  of  the  savage 
banditti,  called  the  Bergenaars,  whose  bands  were  joined  by 
several  of  the  Korana  clans,  especially  by  a  considerable  number 
of  the  Katse  people  and  the  Zeekoes,  doubtless  gave  an  impetus 
to  this  movement,  which  continued  until  they  had  not  only 
estabUshed ,  themselves  at  Makwatling,  the  present  Koranaberg, 
but  even  attempted  on  several  occasions  to  seize  the  cattle  of 
the  Bakuena,  who  then  held  the  noted  stronghold  of  Thaba 
Bosigo,  under  Moshesh.  Much  of  this  portion  of  their  history 
is  so  involved  with  that  of  other  tribes  with  which  they  came 
in  contact,  such  as  the  Griquas,  the  Leghoya,  and  Basutu,  that, 
in  order  to  avoid  useless  repetition,  we  shall  defer  detailing  such 
exploits  until  treating  of  the  several  tribes  connected  therewith. 

With  regard,  however,  to  the  earliest  of  these  eastern  ex- 
peditions, we  are  told  that  in  1820  there  was  perhaps  no  part 
of  Southern  Africa  less  known  than  that  situated  between  the 
jimction  of  the  Riet  and  Modder  rivers  and  the  high  ridges  of 
the  Drakensberg  towards  the  Indian  ocean.  Any  information 
therefore  throwing  light  upon  such  darkness  as  this  Uttle  ex- 
plored region  presented  at  that  time,  must  needs  be  interesting. 
That  the  entire  country  had  been  occupied  by  Bushman  tribes 
from  time  immemorial  cannot  be  doubted,  the  evidence  upon 
this  point  is  too  strong  to  admit  of  refutation.  It  seems  equally 
certain  that  in  the  year  just  mentioned  {1820)  the  Koranas  had 
pushed  so  far  to  the  eastward  that  they  had  formed  a  settlement 
on  the  banks  of  the  Gum-Gariep,  now  called  Vet  river,  which 
runs  into  the  'Gij-'Gariep,  or  Likwa,  as  one  portion  of  it  was 
called  by  the  early  emigrant  Basutu. 

Here  the  Links  stam  had  their  kraals,  and  they  were  then 
the  farthest  to  the  eastward  of  any  of  their  race.  The  largest 
kraal  was  under  a  chief  named  'Harina.  It  contained  seven  or 
eight  hundred  Koranas  and  a  great  number  of  Bushmen  who 
could  speak  the  Korana  language.  Mr.  Campbell,  who  visited 
them,  states  that  Korana  men  frequently  married  Bushwomen, 
but  'Harina  assured  him  that  he  could  not  remember  a  single 
instance  of  a  Korana  woman  marrying  a  Bushman. 

The  Bushmen  occupying  this  river  valley  were  said  to  be 


more  civilized  than  that  part  of  the  nation  which  inhabited  the 
more  western  parts  of  Africa,  for  at  this  time  they  possessed  an 
abmidance  of  cattle  and  were  inclined  to  live  at  peace  with  their 
neighbours.  This  improvement  in  their  condition  we  shall  dis- 
cover as  we  proceed  was  mainly,  if  not  entirely,  attributable  to 
the  friendly  intercourse  that  had  existed  for  a  considerable  time 
between  themselves  and  the  Leghoya,  the  only  tribe  which  ever 
intruded  itself  into  Bushman  territory  that  from  the  very  com- 
mencement of  their  intercourse  attempted  to  establish  just  and 
friendly  relations  between  themselves  and  the  aborigines.  The 
wisdom  of  the  experiment  was  proved,  for  they  not  only  gained 
the  goodwill  of  the  Bushmen  by  such  treatment,  but  also  good 
neighbours  who  under  their  friendly  influence  became  more 
civilized  and  adopted  a  more  improved  state  of  existence  than 
any  of  their  race  had  previously  attained.  The  Leghoya  them- 
selves then  hved  near'  the  junction  of  the  Vet  river  with  the 
Vaal,  and  spread  thence  about  two  days'  joiimey  farther  to  the 

The  Links  Koranas  had  no  intercourse  with  any  tribes  as  far 
north  as  the  Tamahas,  but  they  exchanged  skins  with  the 
Bachoana  and  Leghoya  for  Kaffir  com  and  tobacco. 

From  their  accounts,  up  to  a  very  short  time  before  1820,  the 
greater  part,  if  not  the  entire  country  between  the  Leghoya 
settlements  and  the  ridge  of  the  great  mountain  barrier  of  the 
Drakensberg  was  "  imoccupied,"  that  is,  it  must  still  have  been  in 
the  possession  of  its  original  owners,  the  Bushmen,  and  not  in 
that  of  the  stronger  and  intruding  races. 

Shortly  after  this  period,  urged  probably  by  the  growing 
dread  of  the  Mantatee  hordes  to  the  north  of  the  Vaal,  a  number 
of  other  Korana  clans  pressed  into  this  portion  of  the  country, 
and  the  very  first  victims  of  their  restless  lawlessness  were  these 
more  advanced  Bushmen.  Different  writers  have  put  upon  record 
the  atrocities  which  were  committed  upon  them,  nor  did  their 
oppressors  cease  from  harrjdng  them  until  entire  kraals  were 
annihilated  and  the  survivors  were  deprived  of  the  last  hoof  of 
cattle  which  belonged  to  them,  and  which  under  the  more  just 
and  generous  mode  of  treatment  they  had  experienced  at  the 
hands  of  the  friendly  Leghoya,  they  had  leamt  to  accumulate. 
,  The  following  instances  will  sufficiently  explain  the  remorse- 

310  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

less  conduct  to  which  they  were  subjected  by  these  grasping 
intruders.  In  August  1825  some  Koranas  living  upon  the  'Nu 
'Gariep,  about  twenty  miles  from  Ramah,  made  attacks  upon 
two  Bushmen  kraals,  one  situated  about  eighteen  miles  from 
them,  between  their  own  place  and  Paardeberg,  the  other  near 
the  deserted  mission  station  of  Hephzibah,  between  Tooverberg 
and  the  'Nu  'Gariep. 

At  the  first  the  marauders  killed  several  men  and  captured 
twenty-three  head  of  cattle,  thirteen  goats,  five  sheep,  and 
eighteen  children.  At  Hephzibah  the  same  band  of  plunderers 
killed  many  of  the  people  and  took  away  one  child  and  all  their 
smaU  flocks  of  cattle,  sheep,  and  goats.  The  Bushmen  of  these 
kraals  were  the  remains  of  the  people  who  had  once  lived  at  the 
mission  station  of  Hephzibah.  Mr.  Sass  states  that  when  he  first 
•commenced  his  mission  in  1814,  at  the  suggestion  of  the  Rev. 
A.  Faure,  at  Philippolis,  the  Koranas  had  been  engaged  from 
time  immemorial  in  the  most  rancorous  hostilities  with  the 
Bushmen,  and  it  was  a  long  time  before  they  could  be  persuaded 
to  look  at  a  Bushman  without  attempting  to  murder  him,  so 
•deep  was  the  inveterate  hatred  between  the  two  races. 

In  1825  'Krieger,  chief  of  a  large  Korana  kraal,  with  his 
people  attacked  two  Bushman  kraals  in  the  neighbourhood  of 
the  'Koma,  about  halfway  between  Philippolis  and  the  'Gij 
■'Gariep,  when  they  committed  a  number  of  cruel  murders  and 
robberies,  killing  and  driving  away  the  men,  and  seizing  the 
women  and  children  who  survived  the  attack  as  prisoners. 

As  their  numbers  increased,  so  these  Koranas  extended  the 
field  of  their  ravages.  As  the  vultures,  high  circling  in  the  air, 
•detect  carrion  from  afar,  and  come  flocking  from  all  quarters 
to  their  horrid  banquet,  so  it  was  with  these  inveterate  marauders, 
whom  Dr.  Casahs  not  inaptly  styled  "the  Bedouins  of  South 
Africa."  They  rapidly  gathered  along  the  borders  whenever  the 
irresistible  temptation  of  plunder  was  made  known  to  them. 
The  loot  seized  from  the  unhappy  Bushmen  was  soon  insufficient 
to  satisfy  their  desire  for  cattle  ;  the  sleek  and  numerous  herds 
of  the  pacific  Leghoya  presented  too  strong  an  allurement  for 
them  to  withstand. 

A  series  of  cruel  depredations  was  commenced  upon  them, 
which  soon  extended  also  to  the  herds  of  the  emigrant  Basutu. 


They  even  launched  into  a  number  of  expeditions  into  territories 
remote  from  themselves ;  thus  we  are  informed  by  J.  Montgomery, 
an  authority  in  matters  of  native  history,  that  two  of  their  noted 
captains,  'Karapan  and  Witte  Voet,  started  upon  what  they 
termed  a  hunting  expedition  ;  and  having  reached  the  borders 
of  the  MatabUi  country,  and  wishing  to  make  their  trip  a  pa3nng 
one,  captured,  near  one  of  Moselekatze's  outstations,  a  large 
herd  of  cattle  belonging  to  him,  and  beat  a  retreat  with  as  great 
rapidity  as  possible.  Moselekatze  in  hot  haste  sent  a  large 
commando  in  pursuit,  with  orders  to  overtake  the  marauders  at 
all  hazards  and  recover  the  cattle  which  had  been  seized. 

The  Koranas,  expecting  the  avengers  would  be  upon  their 
trail,  continued  their  flight,  and  overtook,  on  the  way,  a  party 
of  poor  Basutu  migrating  from  the  north  to  join  Moshesh,  who 
had  established  himself  among  the  mountains  of  what  is  now 
British  Basutoland.  With  these  unfortunates,  the  cunning  and 
treacherous  Koranas,  in  order  to  deceive  them  and  their  pur- 
suers, whom  they  supposed  were  now  close  upon  their  heels, 
left  some  of  their  plunder.  The  Matabili,  overtaking  the  unsus- 
pecting Basutu,  and  finding  a  portion  of  the  stolen  cattle  in  their 
possession,  butchered  in  cold  blood  some  ten  to  twelve  hundred 
of  these  wretched  victims  to  the  baseness  of  the  Koranas,  and 
returned  in  triumph  with  the  recaptured  cattle  and  the  spoils  of 
the  annihilated  tribe  to  the  great  place  of  their  master. 

In  the  opposite  direction  these  cattle  raids  were  extended  as 

ar  as  the  kraals  of  some  of  the  Abatembu,  who  were  gradually 

pushing  their  way  towards  the  Orange  river,  in  which  a  number 

of  these  Kaffirs  were  kiUed  and  a  considerable  quantity  of  cattle 


From  the  time  of  their  advancing  towards  the  east,  they  were 
almost  always  at  war  with  their  neighbours.  No  tribe  in  their 
vicinity  enjoyed  a  moment's  repose,  and  after  they  were  fur- 
nished with  firearms  and  mounted  on  good  horses,  they  pillaged 
aU  the  tribes  around  them  in  succession,  until  their  chiefs  inspired 
their  neighbours  with  such  terror  that  they  spoke  of  them  as 
wolves.  They  even  reduced  some  of  the  fragmentary  Bachoana 
and  Basutu  tribes  to  a  state  of  vassalage,  obhging  them  to  become 
herdsmen  and  servants.  In  1836  the  most  notorious  and  for 
midable  of  these  marauding  leaders  were  Piet  Witte- Voet,  Sarles, 

312  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

and  Voortouw.  It  was  during  this  period  that  the  Koranas 
spread  themselves  over  the  widest  extent  of  Bushman  territory 
which  they  ever  possessed.  Their  power  as  a  tribe  was  then  at 
its  height ;  the  possession  of  guns  for  a  time  made  them  more 
daring,  but  as  the  Griquas  on  the  one  hand  and  the  Basutu  on 
the  other  increased  in  strength,  their  decline  of  fortune  com- 
menced, and  it  continued  ever  dwindling  until  they  sank  into  the 
insignificant  position  they  have  attained  in  the  present  day. 

As  the  influence  of  Moshesh  began  to  extend  and  make  itself 
felt  by  his  weaker  neighbours,  the  robber-chiefs  of  these  untama- 
ble clans  established  their  strongholds  on  the  tops  of  precipitous 
and  almost  inaccessible  mountains.  Their  headquarters  were 
at  that  time  on  the  rugged  yet  terraced  sides  of  a  magnificent 
mountain  which  forms  a  landmark  in  the  scenery  of  the  Con- 
quered Territory,  some  eighteen  or  twenty  miles  from  the  old 
station  of  Beersheba,  called  Boteta,  the  Rolling  Mountain,  or 
the  Elandsberg,  whose  rising  rocks,  step  after  step,  were  hke  the 
successive  ramparts  of  an  enormous,  and  what  would  in  the 
hands  of  resolute  men  have  been  an  impregnable,  mountain 
fortress.  An  industrious  people  would  soon  have  converted  the 
fertile  valleys  of  this  mountain  into  a  beautiful  place  of  residence, 
but  the  pillaging  Koranas  only  saw  in  it  a  rock  citadel,  whence 
they  could  conveniently  spy  out  and  pounce  upon  their  unsus- 
pecting victims,  and  like  the  vultures  which  frequented  it,  they 
built  their  shelters  on  its  loftiest  ridges. 

This  was  the  point  from  which  they  made  so  many  of  their 
excursions  upon  the  Basutu  and  other  surroimding  tribes.  They 
were  said  to  be  the  only  people  inhabiting  a  large  extent  of 
country  at  the  time  the  French  mission  at  Beersheba  was  founded 
on  the  banks  of  the  Caledon.  The  country  was  then  stated  to 
be  uninhabited,  that  is,  merely  in  the  occupation  of  wild  game 
and  tribes  of  the  Bushman  race,  whose  sole  means  of  subsistence 
was  the  chase.  Hence  their  presence  was  always  ignored,  al- 
though there  is  overwhelming  evidence  that  the  country  was 
then,  and  for  a  long  period  afterwards,  thickly  populated  by  them. 
But  in  this  case,  as  in  every  other,  with  the  honourable  exception 
of  the  Leghoya,  the  true  aborigines  of  the  country  were  never  for 
a  moment  taken  into  consideration  when  an  eligible  spring  or 
fountain  was  required  by  the  intruders  of  the  stronger  races  into 
their  territories. 


The  founding  of  this  mission  marked  the  date  of  a  terrible 
act  of  vengeance  on  the  part  of  the  Basutu,  which  convinced  the 
Koranas  that  their  reign  was  over  and  that  their  mountain  strong- 
hold could  no  longer  be  a  secure  retreat  to  shield  them  after 
their  depredations.  An  emigrant  Xosa  Kaffir,  named  Jalusa, 
had  established  himself  on  one  of  the  outljdng  branches  of  the 
'Koesberg,  and  shortly  afterwards  began  to  intercept  travellers, 
lay  violent  hands  upon  them,  and  enrich  himself  with  their 
booty.  Complaints  of  these  outrages  were  made  to  Moshesh, 
who  was  then  beginning  to  assert  his  authority  over  a  broad 
expanse  of  the  surrounding  country,  and  he  determined  in  a 
summary  manner  to  put  an  end  to  the  outrages  of  the  stranger. 
Suddenly,  when  they  least  expected  it,  the  guilty  horde  was 
surrounded  by  some  thousands  of  men,  commanded  by  two  of 
the  sons  of  Moshesh,  and  was  cut  to  pieces.  The  smoke  of  the 
burning  villages  was  seen  from  Beersheba.  Some  of  the  fugitives 
who  escaped  from  the  slaughter  fled  towards  the  mission  station, 
where  they  were  found  by  the  missionary  RoUand  a  prey  to 
hunger  and  despair,  and  thus  their  lives  were  saved. 

The  Koranas,  surprised  at  the  daring  blow  that  had  been  just 
struck  by  Moshesh  at  so  short  a  distance  from  their  own  abode, 
and  seeing  the  assurance  of  the  inhabitants  of  Beersheba,  upon 
whom  they  had  been  accustomed  to  levy  a  species  of  blackmail, 
increase  from  day  to  day,  quitted  that  portion  of  the  country 

We  have  already  seen  that  after  the  domestic  feuds  of  the 
Taaibosches,  the  main  branch  of  the  Toovenaars  separated,  and 
that  the  chief  Jan  Taaibosch  and  his  retainers  fell  back  towards 
Koranaberg,  the  Thaba  Mekuatling  of  the  Basutu  ;  first  however 
pitching  their  huts  at  Umpukani,  or  as  it  was  more  commonly 
called  Tlotlolane,  near  Thaba  Cheu.  Tlotlolane  was  a  hill  of 
considerable  magnitude,  in  the  form  of  a  tongue,  the  summit  of 
the  crest  being  towards  the  west  and  the  inclination  towards  the 
east.  In  1836,  when  M.  Arbousset  visited  the  locality,  two 
European  houses,  belonging  to  the  missionaries,  were  standing 
near  the  top  of  the  hill,  and  to  the  right  of  them  a  kraal  of  about 
two  hundred  and  fifty  Korana  huts,  while  some  of  the  detached 
hills  in  the  neighbourhood  were  inhabited  by  a  few  Bachoana. 

Gert  Taaibosch,  son  of  Jan,  gradually  migrated  towards  the 

314  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

eastward,  and  occupied  a  piece  of  country  between  Sikoniela  and 
Moshesh.  These  chiefs  endeavoured  to  drive  him  out  without 
success.  It  was  after  he  had  estabhshed  himself  in  this  territory 
that  he  encountered  the  Bataung  chief  Mohtsane  in  a  state  of 
abject  poverty.  He  was  then  upon  a  hunting  expedition  towards 
the  Orange  river,  when  the  Korana  captain  engaged  his  services 
to  look  after  his  cattle  in  the  country  he  had  taken  possession  of, 
during  the  frequent  absences  which  his  own  wandering  predatory 
habits  induced. 

These  Koranas,  however,  never  rose  again  to  any  great  power, 
and  their  descendants  are  now  to  be  found  scattered  among  the 
Bataung,  the  Basutu,  and  over  portions  of  the  Free  State. 

Some  of  the  fragments  of  these  Korana  clans  fraternized 
with  the  Bushmen,  and  became  mixed  up  with  their  raids  in  the 
State.  These  were  the  Ratten,  Scorpions,  Zeekoes,  and  others, 
and  were  either  killed  or  dispersed  on  the  death  of  Scheel  Kobus, 
the  last  Bushman  captain  of  the  Vaal.  Others  fled,  and  the 
survivors  of  the  Springboks,  the  Scorpions,  the  Hooge  Staanders, 
the  Katse,  and  the  Papieren  now  live  low  down  the  'Gariep  or 
Great  river. 

A  myth  current  among  the  Koranas  of  the  Links  stam,  and 
which  Mr.  Campbell  was  fortunate  enough  to  obtain  from  their 
chief  'Hari'na  in  1820,  concerning  the  origin  of  their  race,  will 
serve  as  a  fitting  conclusion  to  this  necessarily  imperfect  memoir 
concerning  them.  He  stated  that  from  what  they  had  leamt 
from  their  forefathers  they  believed  that  there  were  at  first  only 
two  men  in  the  world,  a  Korana  and  a  Bushman,  that  a  woman 
came  out  of  the  ground  whom  the  Korana  married,  and  that  from 
this  connexion  the  country  was  peopled.  The  Korana  employed 
the  Bushman  to  kiU  game.  One  day  this  Bushman  came  to  a 
large  cave  where  the  Korana  kept  his  calves,  for  there  were  no 
cattle  kraals  in  those  days,  when  he  shot  one  of  the  calves  with  an 
arrow,  and  skinned  it  and  brought  it  to  the  Korana  as  if  it  had 
been  game. 

On  tasting  the  flesh,  the  Korana  was  surprised,  and  inquired 
where  the  other  obtained  it.  The  Bushman  only  replied  that 
he  had  shot  it.  The  next  time  the  Bushman  went  to  search  for 
game,  the  Korana,  suspecting  aU  was  not  fair,  followed  him 
secretly,  and  saw  him  go  to  the  cave  and  shoot  another  calf,  and 


thus  his  roguery  was  detected.  The  artifice  of  the  Bushman  led 
to  a  disagreement  between  them.  A  little  before  sunset  one 
evening  they  agreed  to  a  separation,  and  also  a  division  of  the 
cattle,  which  had  been  before  considered  their  mutual  property. 
The  Korana  inquired  of  the  Bushman  which  of  the  cattle  he 
would  choose  for  his  share,  who  repUed  those  which  had  sparkling 
eyes,  not  reflecting  that  their  lustre  arose  from  the  evening  rays 
of  the  sun.  The  Korana  chose  the  dark-eyed  cattle,  but  put  off 
making  a  division  until  the  sun  went  down.  On  examining  the 
herd  the  Bushman  could  find  none  with  shining  eyes,  and  sup- 
posed they  had  strayed ;  he  therefore  went  in  search  of  them. 
After  an  unsuccessful  search  he  returned  with  his  body  severely 
scratched  by  thorns.  In  the  meanwhile  the  Korana,  having 
smeared  his  face  and  legs  with  butter,  which  he  had  obtained  by 
accident  from  the  milk,  looked  so  well  that  the  Bushman  was 
ashamed  to  remain  longer  with  him,  and  went  away  without  the 
cattle  to  subsist  entirely  on  game,  leaving  his  share  to  the 

Although  this  myth  does  not  point  out  how  the  poor  Bushman 
obtained  a  wife,  it  seems  to  indicate,  if  the  myth  be  at  aU  ancient, 
that  the  Hottentot  race  must  have  been  in  early  times  occupying 
territory  where  Bushmen  alone  were  found  from  a  period  so 
remote  that  the  ancestors  of  these  Koranas  believed  that  no  other 
men  existed  on  the  earth  except  the  Bushmen  and  themselves. 
This  therefore  would  point  to  a  period  long  prior  to  their  having 
been  driven  southward  by  the  fathers  of  the  Bachoana  tribes. 

Chapter    XVII 


We  have  now  arrived  at  the  last  tribe  connected  with  the  Hotten- 
tot race  which  it  will  be  necessary  for  us  to  notice  ;  but  their 
history  forms  nevertheless  a  subject  of  considerable  interest, 
from  the  notice  into  which  both  Griquas  and  Griqualand  have  of 
late  years  been  brought  by  the  wonderful  discovery^  of  diamonds 
in  the  valley  of  the  Vaal,  and  the  diverse  land  claims  connected 

We  have  already  pointed  out  that  among  the  old  Hottentot 
tribes  in  the  days  of  the  early  Dutch  settlement  there  was  a  clan 
belonging  to  the  Cochoqua  group  which  was  variously  called 
Chariguriqua  and  Grigriqua.  In  1653  they  were  said  to  be 
without  any  hereditary  chief,  and  sixty-one  years  later,  or  in 
1713,  Kolben  states  that  their  descendants  were  Uving  near  St. 
Helena  Bay.  There  does  not  therefore  appear  any  reason  for 
doubting  that  it  was  from  this  tribe  the  modem  Griquas  derived 
their  name. 

There  is  however  a  vast  difference  between  the  tribe  we  are 
now  treating  of  and  those  of  the  Namaqua  and  Korana.  In 
these  last  we  had  the  pure  descendants  of  the  old  tribes  with 
which  the  early  Dutch  settlers  carried  on  their  profitable  barter- 
ing, but  in  the  case  of  the  Griqua  it  is  very  differeiit.  Although 
since  1813  the  whole  of  them  have  adopted  the  appellation  of 
Griqua,  a  large  majority  of  them  were  not  only  descendants  of  the 
Hottentot  tribe  we  have  mentioned  but  of  the  Dutch  colonists 
I  also.  They  were,  in  fact,  a  race  of  mixed  blood,  many  of  them 
i  being  half-castes,  the  offspring  of  Hottentot  and  Bush  women 
by  the  old  colonists.  This  mongrel  breed  afterwards  intermixed 
with  the  miserable  remnant  of  the  true  Grigriqua,  who  appear 
to  have  principally  occupied  their  time,  for  a  considerable  period 

THE    GRIQUAS  317 

previous  to  their  great  migration  to  the  eastward,  in  wandering 
about  in  the  neighbourhood  of  Piquetberg  and  along  the  borders 
of  the  present  Division  of  Clanwilham. 

While  these  latter  have  always  considered  themselves 
Griquas,  the  larger  portion  of  those  now  included  under  this 
designation  were  formerly  called  Bastaards,  a  name  which, 
however  distasteful  to  European  notions,  was  one  of  which  they 
were  originally  particularly  proud.  The  preponderance  of  the 
Dutch  element  amongst  them  was  shown  by  the  Dutch  language 
being  spoken  by  the  more  influential  majority  and  by  its  super- 
seding that  of  the  purely  Hottentot  minority. 

We  shall  find  as  we  proceed,  that  at  the  commencement  of 
their  career  the  purer  Griqua  element  seemed  to  congregate 
around  the  elder  Kok,  whilst  those  of  mixed  descent  formed  the 
principal  following  of  the  Bastaard  chief  Barend  Barends  ;  and 
that  these  two  diverse  elements  only  combined  when  from  the 
force  of  circumstances  their  leaders  entered  into  a  kind  of  mutual 
bond  for  the  purpose  of  strengthening  themselves,  and  that  they 
might  defend  themselves  against  a  common  danger. 

From  the  records  which  have  been  preserved  it  would  appear 
that  the  early  condition  of  the  Griquas  who  first  gathered  round 
Kok,  as  their  chosen  captain,  was  on  a  lower  level  in  the  scale  of 
civilization  than  even  that  of  the  Koranas.  In  a  report  of  the 
Select  Committee  of  the  House  of  Commons  on  Aborigines,  they 
are  thus  described  :  In  1800,  when  their  first  missionary,  Mr. 
Anderson,  went  among  them,  they  were  a  horde  of  wandering 
naked  savages,  subsisting  by  plunder  and  the  chase.  Their 
bodies  were  daubed  with  red  paint,  their  heads  loaded  with 
grease  and  shining  powder,  with  no  covering  but  the  filthy 
karo'ss  over  their  shoulders.  Without  knowledge,  without  morals, 
or  any  trace  of  civilization,  they  were  wholly  abandoned  to 
witchcraft,  drunkenness,  licentiousness,  and  all  the  consequences 
which  arise  from  the  unchecked  growth  of  such  vices.  With  his 
fellow  labourer,  Mr.  Kramer,  Mr.  Anderson  wandered  about  with 
them  for  five  years  and  a  half,  exposed  to  all  the  dangers  and 
privations  inseparable  from  such  a  state  of  society,  before  they 
could  induce  them  to  locate  where  they  afterwards  settled. 

The  missionary  Anderson,  writing  of  this  period,  states  : 
When  I  went  among  the  Griquas,  and  for  some  time  after,  they 

3i8  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

were  without  the  smallest  marks  of  civUization.  If  I  except  one, 
who  had,  by  some  means,  got  a  trifling  article  of  colonial  raiment, 
they  had  not  one  thread  of  European  clothing  among  them,  and 
their  wretched  appearance  and  habits  were  such  as  might  have 
excited  in  our  minds  an  aversion  for  them,  had  we  not  been 
actuated  by  principles  which  led  us  to  pity  them  and  served  to 
strengthen  us  in  pursuing  the  object  of  our  missionary  work. 
They  were  in  many  instances  little  above  the  brutes.  It  is  a 
fact  that  we  were  among  them  at  the  hazard  of  our  lives.  This 
became  evident  to  us  from  their  own  acknowledgment  to  us 
afterwards,  they  having  confessed  that  they  had  frequently 
premeditated  to  take  away  our  lives,  and  were  prevented  only 
from  executing  their  purposes  by  what  they  now  consider  an 
Almighty  power.  When  we  went  among  them,  and  for  some 
time  after,  they  lived  in  the  habit  of  plundering  one  another, 
and  they  saw  no  moral  evil  in  this,  nor  in  any  of  their  actions. 
Violent  deaths  were  common,  and  I  recollect  many  of  the  aged 
women  told  me  their  husbands  had  been  killed  in  this  way. 
Their  usual  manner  of  living  was  truly  disgusting,  and  they  were 
void  of  shame  ;  however,  after  a  series  of  hardships  which  re- 
quired much  faith  and  patience,  our  instructions  were  attended 
with  a  blessing  which  produced  a  great  change. 

The  old  Griquas  were  clad  in  the  earUer  days  much  in  the 
same  fashion  as  the  other  wild  races  by  whom  they  were  sur- 
rounded, viz.  a  bunch  of  leather  strings  about  eighteen  inches 
long  hung  from  the  woman's  waist  in  front,  and  a  prepared  skin 
of  a  sheep  or  antelope  covered  their  shoulders.  The  men  wore 
a  patch  of  an  apron,  as  big  as  the  crown  of  a  hat,  and  a  mantle 
exactly  like  that  of  the  women.  To  protect  the  skin  from  the 
sun  by  day  and  the  cold  by  night,  they  smeared  themselves  with 
a  compound  of  fat  and  ochre  ;  the  head  was  anointed  with 
pounded  blue  mica  mixed  with  grease.  The  particles  of  shining 
mica,  as  they  fell  upon  the  body  and  on  the  strings  of  beads  and 
brass  rings,  were  considered  highly  ornamental. 

The  present  Griquas,  however,  are  clearly,  as  we  have  pointed 
out,  an  aggregation  of  individuals  of  comparatively  very  modem 
origin,  whose  homogeneity  consisted  only  in  the  sameness  of 
their  wandering  and  plundering  proclivities,  and  who  could  cer- 
tainly lay  no  claim  to  being  the  descendants  of  the  more  ancient 

THE    GRIQUAS  319 

tribe  called  Grigriquas  in  the  time  of  the  eariy  Dutch  settlement. 
At  the  period  when  the  elder  Kok  commenced  his  wanderings 
they  could  only  have  been  few  in  niunber,  a  weak  sept,  consisting 
principally  of  the  members  of  his  own  family  and  their  adherents. 
The  Koranas  started  as  a  compact  body  on  their  north-eastern 
journey,  at  a  time  when  they  still  retained  a  considerable  degree 
of  their  original  tribal  organization,  and  carried  with  them  their 
tribal  traditions  and  hereditary  leaders.  This  movement  com- 
menced, as  we  have  seen,  at  a  much  earlier  date  than  that  of  the 
Koks,  for  we  find  that  although  Cornelius  Kok,  the  elder,  was  an 
old  man,  he  had  never  heard  of  the  Koranas  within  the  limits  of 
the  Colony.  In  his  time,  however,  the  means  of  communication 
were  rather  difficult,  and  he  and  his  embryo  Griqua  tribe  moved 
diagonally  across  the  Bushman  country,  and  struck  the  'Gariep, 
or  Great  river,  much  lower  down  than  where  ^the  main  body  of 
the  Koranas  first  came  in  contact  with  it. 

Differing  so  greatly  as  these  Griquas  did  from  the  earlier 
Korana  emigrants,  we  can  easily  understand  why  such  a  mongrel 
and  miscellaneous  collection  of  people  had  neither  hereditary 
chiefs  nor  hereditary  traditions.  This  of  course  cannot  be  won- 
dered at  when  we  take  into  consideration  the  diverse  and  almost 
antagonistic  elements  of  which  this  tribe  was  composed. 

When  Waterboer  came  to  the  head  of  affairs,  the  following 
elements  were  added  to  the  original  material :  Korana,  Bushmen,, 
and  refugees  from  the  Bachoana,  chiefly  of  the  Batlaru,  Batlapin, 
and  Basutu  tribes  ;  while  as  his  power  increased,  and  the  fame 
of  it  spread  into  the  Colony,  the  loose  materials  of  the  colonial 
sweepings  were  powerfully  attracted  towards  this  new  centre,  in 
the  shape  of  great  numbers  of  other  half-caste  Hottentots, 
representatives  of  every  remaining  tribe  and  from  every  quarter 
of  the  old  Colony,  refugee  slaves,  especially  after  their  emancipa- 
tion, and  men  of  every  shade  of  mixture  between  these  various 

The  newcomers  brought  with  them  not  only  some  notions 
about  European  clothing,  but,  what  was  stiU  more  important  to 
Griqua  progress,  a  large  number  of  them  came  possessed  of 
horses  and  firearms.  The  very  names  which  many  of  them  bore 
marked  the  closer  connexion  between  them  and  the  old  European 
colonists  than  had  existed  in  the  time  of  the  Korana  exodus. 

320  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

Many  of  the  latter,  even  in  1874-5,  retained  names  which  plainly 
indicated  their  Hottentot  derivation,  intermingled  with  a  few 
others,  such  as  Jager,  Stuurman,  Wildeman,  Kwaaiman,  Platje, 
January,  August,  April,  September,  October,  November,  and  the 
like,  evidently  obtained  while  in  temporary  service  among  the 
neighbouring  Boers  or  Griquas  ;  while  among  the  others,  who 
gloried  rather  than  otherwise  in  being  called  Bastaards,  we  meet 
frequently  with  the  following  easily  recognized  colonial  surnames, 
which  at  once  explain  their  own  history — 

Kleinhans,  Pienaar,  Van  Rooyen, 

Coetzee,  Cloete,  Potgieter, 

Kruger,  Gousen,  Swanepoel, 

Jansen,  Buiskes,  Lombard, 

Marais,  Van  Wijk,  Greef, 

and  many  others,  together  with  a  few  names  showing  English 
descent,  such  as  Read,  Bartlett,  etc. 

It  is  certain  that  sometimes  slaves  and  other  retainers  took 
the  names  of  their  master's  families  ;  but  in  those  of  the  Bastaards 
or  Griquas  bearing  these  names,  their  physical  appearance 
admits  of  no  question  as  to  their  mixed  origin.  These  half- 
caste  people  were  induced  to  migrate  from  the  Colony,  not  only 
by  their  own  desire  to  escape  from  the  thraldom  in  which  they 
had  lived  and  to  settle  in  a  spot  where  they  believed  they  would 
be  subject  to  less  restraint,  but  also  to  set  up,  as  some  of  their 
friends  fondly  hoped,  an  independent  state  free  from  any  ex- 
traneous interference. 

Several  causes  led  to  this.  By  such  a  clearance  the  civil 
authorities  imagined  that  they  would  rid  themselves  of  an 
element  which  they  saw  growing  and  accumulating,  and  which 
they  feared  might,  if  not  got  rid  of  in  time,  ultimately  prove 
exceedingly  troublesome  in  the  colony ;  they  were  the  debris 
of  the  tribes  which  had  almost  ceased  to  exist,  the  waifs  of  colonial 
life  thrown  upon  society,  and  apparently,  from  a  natural  inertness 
of  disposition,  unable  to  compete  with  the  more  energetic  races 
in  the  struggle  for  existence.  It  was,  therefore,  considered  by 
some  that  by  collecting  and  placing  them  on  one  side,  the  difficulty 
would  be  reduced  to  a  point,  and  thus  rendered  more  manageable ; 
while,  from  a  negrophilist  point  of  view,  it  afforded  the  long 
desired    opportunity   to    start    a    politico-religious    community 

THE  _^GRIQUAS  321 

freed  from  the  trammels  of  outside  control,  to  build  up  a  separate 
national  existence  under  purely  missionary  influences  under  the 
patronage  of  a  Society,  whose  well-meaning  but  frequently, 
through  ignorance  and  inexperience,  misguided  interference  has 
entailed  an  unmitigated  increase  of  evil  in  almost  every  portion 
of  the  globe  where  they  have  intermeddled.  To  attempt  to 
establish  a  history  for  a  race  which,  from  the  remotest  ages,  has 
been  unable  to  build  up  a  history  for  itself,  must,  one  is  inclined 
to  believe,  always  prove  a  failure  ;  and  to  expect  to  turn  men 
who  have  just  been  emancipated  from  the  oppressions  of  genera- 
tions, and  from  the  debasement  and  degradation  of  serfdom 
and  slavery,  suddenly  into  a  race  of  noble-minded  patriots,  can 
be  an  idea  entertained  only  by  enthusiastic  visionaries,  who 
hope  for  miracles  in  utter  defiance  of  all  the  experience  of  past 

In  following  out  our  investigation  with  regard  to  the  migration 
of  these  Griquas,  we  wUl  do  so  under  the  separate  heads  given 
below,  that  we  may  thereby  obtain  a  clearer  and  more  definite, 
and  therefore  more  satisfactory  view,  of  the  race  of  people  now 
under  consideration. 

A.  The  Founders  of  the  Modem  Griquas, 

B.  The  Family  of  the  Africaanders  and  the  Clan  of  the  Jagers 

(the  Hunters), 

C.  Barend  Barends,  the  original  Chief  of  the  Sept  of  the 


D.  Causes  which  forced  the  migration  to  the  Eastward, 

E.  The  early  Griqua  Settlement, 

F.  The  Griquas  of  1813, 

G.  The  Griquas  of  1820  under  the  rule  of  Waterboer, 
H.  The  Griqua  Chiefs, 

(a).  Adam  Kok,  of  PhilippoHs, 
(b).  Cornelius  Kok,  of  Campbell, 
(c).  Barend  Barends,  of  Boetsap, 
(d).  Jan  Bloem,  the  Younger, 
I.  Concluding  Remarks. 

A. — The  Founders  of  the  Modern  Griquas. 
The  name  Kok,  i.e.  Cook,  was  said  to  have  been  derived  from 
the  circumstance  of  one  of  the  progenitors  of  the  family  having 
sen'ed  as  a  cook  to  one  of  the  old  Dutch  governors.     Old  Adam 


322  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

Kok,  however,  who  may  be  termed  the  founder  of  this  family, 
and  who  was  the  great-grandfather  of  Adam  Kok,  the  chief  of 
Philippohs,  and  afterwards  of  Nomansland,  was  born  about 
1710.  Although  of  mixed  descent,  he  was  originally  a  slave, 
but  by  dint  of  industry  he  was  able  to  collect  a  sufficient  sum 
to  purchase  his  freedom  and  subsequently  to  procure  a  farm 
among  the  colonists  of  the  Cape.  This  farm  appears  to  have  been 
somewhere  near  the  Piquetberg,  where  his  son  Cornelius  was 
bom.  He  also  seems  to  have  possessed  property  at  the  Khamies- 
berg,  where  his  family  sometimes  resided.  Here  a  number  of 
Bastaards  and  many  Hottentots  and  people  of  colour  gathered 
around  him.  He  is  spoken  of  as  a  man  superior  to  most  of  his 
fellows,  and  received  a  wand  of  office  with  the  appointment  of 
captain,  or  chief  over  the  natives  who  had  congregated  around 
him.  The  Chariguriquas  or  Grigriquas  were  then  living  to  the 
south  of  Little  Namaqualand.  We  can  easily  imagine  the  reason 
why  one  with  a  preponderance  of  white  blood  in  his  veins,  and 
a  man  of  substance  also,  was  recognized  as  a  leader  among  the 
Bastaards,  who  were  drawn  towards  him  by  the  fame  of  his  riches, 
while  the  government  wand  ensured  him  the  allegiance  of  the 
down-pressed  serf-like  Hottentots. 

After  a  time  this  Adam  sold  his  little  domain  and  migrated 
to  the  country  of  the  Namaquas.  In  this  movement  many  of 
the  Grigriquas,  in  the  neighbourhood  of  whom  he  hved,  connected 
themselves  with  him.  In  Namaqualand  his  subjects  were 
again  increased  by  the  addition  of  a  considerable  number  of 
Hottentots.  After  this  he  recrossed  the  river  and  settled  at 
Pella,  with  one  Mr.  Albertse  as  his  missionary,  and  from  this 
point  he  made  long  hunting  expeditions  into  the  interior.  Kok 
and  his  Griqua  retainers  pushed  their  excursions  as  far  as  the 
country  where  Campbell,  Griquatown,  and  Boetsap  are  now 
situated.  Here  they  found  an  abundance  of  all  kinds  of  game, 
but  no  people  occupying  it  except  some  stray  Bushmen.  No 
Kaffirs  whatever  were  found. 

It  was  in  those  days  that  these  Griqua  hunters  first  discovered 
and  visited  the  strong  fountains  at  Klaarwater  and  other  places 
in  what  is  now  called  Griqualand  West,  and  when  they  or  their 
friends  years  afterwards  moved  up  the  Great  river  and  took 
possession  of  them,  they  did  so  without  let  or  hindrance  from 

THE    GRIQUAS  323 

any  one,  for  the  simple  reason  that  neither  the  Batlapin  tribe 
nor  any  other  of  the  Bachoana  was  there  to  dispute  their  right, 
and  the  Bushmen  as  a  matter  of  course  made  no  resistance, 
the  greater  portion  of  them  having  been  cleared  out  of  the 
country  by  the  Koranas  or  the  previous  hunting  parties  of  the 
Griquas  and  Bastaards. 

In  1788  Adam  Kok,  then  a  very  old  man,  was  still  living 
near  the  Great  river,  and  in  1795,  finding  himself  too  old  and 
feeble  for  the  cares  of  government,  he  transferred  his  chieftain- 
ship and  staff  of  office  to  his  eldest  son  Cornelius,  who  obtained 
great  influence  among  all  the  natives,  Koranas  and  others,  with 
whom  he  came  in  contact. 

This  Cornelius  was  bom  in  1746  at  the  Piquet  mountain. 
When  he  was  a  boy,  he  said,  no  Boer  lived  farther  north  than 
Oliphant  River.  The  Bushmen  to  the  eastward  of  Namaqualand 
were  always  at  war  both  with  the  Colony  and  the  Namaquas, 
but  his  father,  by  gentle  treatment,  was  the  means  of  bringing 
them  to  live  in  peace.  At  that  time  both  Bushmen  and  Namaquas 
were  much  more  numerous  than  at  present.  Many  of  the 
former  were  carried  off  by  disease,  others  removed  higher  up  the 
river  to  the  eastward,  while  a  considerable  number  of  the  latter 
crossed  the  river  and  took  up  their  residence  in  Great  Namaqua- 
land. No  person  beyond,  or  to  the  north  of,  the  Oliphant 
river  at  the  time  of  his  living  at  Piquetberg  possessed  a  waggon, 
except  his  father  and  himself. 

When  his  father  removed  to  the  north,  Cornelius  remained 
behind  at  the  Khamiesberg.  He  could  read  and  write,  and  had 
to  a  certain  degree  been  civilized  by  intercourse  with  missionaries 
and  colonists,  and  through  frequenting  Capetown  and  the 
Colony.  He  commanded  great  respect  among  his  people,  and 
by  their  aid  and  the  services  of  the  neighbouring  Bushmen  and 
Koranas  had  so  far  prospered  that  he  had  become  the  possessor 
of  immense  flocks  of  sheep.  Kok  had  the  good  sense  to  secure 
to  himself  the  services  of  these  native  tribes,  by  giving  them  a 
certain  number  of  sheep  in  charge,  allowing  them  half  the  lambs 
for  their  trouble  of  herding.  Their  true  and  faithful  accounting, 
annually,  was  proverbial,  and  thus  he  prevented  both  poverty 
in  his  neighbourhood  and  the  consequence  of  want.  By  all 
accounts  he  lived  in  a  style  similar  to  that  of  the  colonists  on  the 

324  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

border,  and  exhibited  a  good  example  to  those  about  him  by 
introducing  ideas  of  regularity,  comfort,  necessary  conveniences, 
and  social  duties,  which  raised  his  immediate  followers  far  above 
the  tribes  around  him. 

This  Cornelius  Kok  was  not  only  a  great  flock-master,  but 
a  great  hunter  ;  and  apparently  tired  of  the  somewhat  monotonous 
life  of  a  Dutch  burgher  and  actuated  doubtlessly  in  the  first 
instance  more  by  ardour  for  the  chase  and  love  of  hunting  than 
anjrthing  else,  he  inspanned  his  waggon  and  left  the  Khamiesberg. 
Ranking,  as  we  are  informed  he  did,  as  a  burgher,  we  presume 
that  he  and  his  immediate  relatives,  at  least,  had  guns,  which 
they  took  with  them  when  he  commenced  his  wanderings  like 
his  father  before  him.  He  was  acknowledged  by  the  existing 
government  as  the  successor  of  his  father,  and  thus  entrusted 
with  the  staff  of  office,  possessing  horses  and  firearms  and  flocks 
of  almost  patriarchal  size,  one  of  the  primitive  tokens  of  immense 
wealth,  he  must  undoubtedly  have  appeared  as  a  great  man 
in  the  eyes  of  the  natives  among  whom  he  travelled. 

The  country  abounded  in  game,  large  and  small,  gemsboks 
and  elands,  giraffes,  white  rhinoceroses,  and  many  other  large- 
animals  were  numerous.  In  such  a  country,  besides  those  whO' 
had  adhered  to  the  fortunes  of  his  father,  the  expert  and  enthusi- 
astic huntsman  would  soon  get  a  considerable  following  around 
him,  ready  to  assist  him  in  the  chase,  and  to  feast  and  make 
merry  upon  the  superabundance  of  flesh  which  its  spoils  afforded.. 
This  in  all  probability  was  the  time  when  his  "  faithful  Griquas  " 
first  gathered  round  him  in  any  considerable  numbers. 

Finding  the  wild  life  of  the  huntsman  more  congenial  to  his 
nature  than  following  his  sheep,  which  he  seems  in  a  great  measure 
to  have  entrusted  to  the  care  of  others,  he  continued  his  pursuit 
of  game,  wandering  from  place  to  place  until  he  arrived  on  the 
banks  of  the  'Gariep  or  Great  river. 

A  description  has  already  been  given  of  the  degraded  condition 
of  the  Griquas  at  this  period. 

In  their  early  days,  with  the  exception  of  their  leader  and  his 
family,  and  the  few  Bastaards  who  were  associated  with  him„ 
the  whole  of  the  horde  still  used  the  bow  and  arrow,  the  ancient 
weapons  of  their  race.  The  nucleus  of  the  future  tribe  was  then 
composed  of  the  half-caste  family  of  the  Koks  and  their  purely 

THE    GRIQUAS  325 

Hottentot  adherents  ;  after  this  date  these  were  joined  from 
time  to  time  by  scattered  groups  of  other  Bastaards,  and  thus  the 
hands  of  Comehus  were  gradually  strengthened,  and  with  the 
feeling  of  growing  strength  a  little  cattle  lifting  and  marauding 
sprang  up  among  his  followers  when  game  was  difficult  to  procure. 
Mixing  up  a  little  conquest  on  his  own  part  with  his  sporting 
occupations,  he  subdued  and  absorbed  into  his  own  tribe  most 
of  the  wandering  Koranas  with  whom  he  came  in  contact. 

Having  fixed  upon  a  sort  of  central  station  on  the  Great  river, 
he  sallied  out  from  this  point  upon  hunting  or  other  expeditions, 
some  of  which  were  extended  to  considerable  distances.  In  one 
of  these  he  came  in  contact  with  the  Batlapin,  who  were  then 
found  at  a  place  called  Kama-piri,  on  the  Kuruman  river,  not 
far  below  the  present  mission  station.  Some  writers  have  stated 
that  he  was  the  first,  proceeding  from  a  southerly  direction,  who 
discovered  the  Batlapin  ;  but  we  know  now,  as  we  have  previously 
shown,  that  long  before  his  arrival  the  Korana  clans  had  invaded 
and  settled  in  that  part  of  the  country,  and  had  carried  their 
marauding  expeditions  much  farther  to  the  northward  than 
Kuruman ;  and  that  they  had  been,  according  to  the  most  orthodox 
manners  of  the  times,  on  some  occasions  on  friendly  terms  with 
the  Batlapin,  while  on  others  they  had  relieved,  or  attempted  to 
relieve,  them  of  any  number  of  superfluous  cattle  they  could  lay 
their  hands  on. 

Molehabangwe,  father  of  Mothibi  and  Mahura,  and  grand- 
father of  Mankoroane,  was  the  great  chief  of  the  Batlapin  at 
the  time  of  this  visit  of  Kok,  which  appears  to  have  been  a  most 
opportune  one  for  these  people,  as  it  proved  to  be  the  means  of 
saving  them  from  the  grasping  clutches  of  their  quondam  friends 
and  neighbours  the  Koranas. 

At  this  time  no  Bachoana  were  found  in  the  country  south  of 
the  Kuruman  river.  The  greater  portion  was,  with  the  exception 
of  those  localities  which  had  been  appropriated  by  the  invading 
Koranas,  still  in  the  occupation  of  its  earliest  known  inhabitants, 
the  Bushmen.  The  report  of  the  Select  Committee  upon  the 
Aborigines,  already  referred  to,  explains  by  whom  these  unfortu- 
nate people  were  eventually  deprived  of  by  far  the  largest  tracts 
of  their  hunting  grounds.  In  this  report  it  is  stated  that  the 
Griquas  have  been  accused,  and  with  much  probability  of  truth, 

326  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

of  having  whilst  in  a  savage  state  treated  the  Bushmen  with 
barbarity,  and  expelled  them  from  the  greater  part  of  their 
country.  This  however  was  before  the  missionaries  went  to 
them  ! 

It  is  difificult  to  reconcile  the  statement  in  the  last  paragraph 
with  the  fact  that  the  missionaries  had  been  wandering  with  the 
Griquas  on  the  left,  or  south  side,  of  the  Orange  river  for  several 
years  before  they  crossed  it,  a  part  of  the  Bushman  country  in 
which  they,  the  Griquas,  never  made  any  permanent  settlement, 
and  that  it  was  after  these  missionaries  had  themselves  selected, 
and  appropriated,  the  country  around  Klaarwater  as  a  home  for 
their  Griqua  proteges  that  the  great  extension  and  permanent 
usurpation  of  the  Bushman  territory  by  these  Griquas  commenced ! 
We  are  assured  that  the  Griqua  chiefs  of  the  infant  settlement 
always  treated  the  Bushmen  with  consideration  and  kindness. 
Of  this  we  shall  have  better  means  of  judging  as  we  proceed,  and 
shall  discover  that  this  kindness  was  strikingly  exemplified  by 
depriving  the  latter  of  the  last  vestige  of  their  lands  and  giving 
them  in  exchange  a  few  cattle  to  live  upon,  as  if  the  men  of  this 
wild  hunter-race,  who  rejoiced  m  the  untrammelled  freedom  of 
the  mighty  plains  by  which  they  were  surrounded,  could  be 
suddenly  turned,  by  a  feat  akin  to  legerdemain,  into  mere  cattle- 
herds  !     Be  this  as  it  may,  it  is  quite  certain  that  they  at  the  same 
time  must  have  received  very  different  treatment  from  the  hands 
of  a  large  portion  of  the  Griqua  people,  and  that,  up  to  a  very 
recent  period,  for  in  1820  the  hatred  of  the  Bushmen  was  so 
intense  against  the  Griquas  that  they  never  lost  an  opportunity 
of  killing  one,  could  they  catch  him  alone  in  the  veld. 

In  1 80 1  Africaander  and  his  banditti  were  spreading  terror 
through  the  entire  country,  and  had  carried  their  depredations 
as  far  as  the  Korana  kraals  in  the  neighbourhood  of  t'Keys,  or 
'Kheis.  The  Griquas  were  at  that  time  living  scattered  from 
t'Koubahas  (Bitter  Dacha),  then  the  headquarters  of  Cornelius 
Kok,  and  some  distance  below  'Kheis,  on  the  Great  river,  to 
a  little  above  its  junction  with  the  Vaal  or  'Gij-'Gariep.  Another 
portion  of  the  Kok  family,  Jan  Kok  with  his  family  and  retainers, 
were  living  at  t'Karaap,  not  far  from  Modder  Fontein  to  the 
right  of  these  rivers,  while  the  missionaries  Kicherer,  Anderson, 
and  Kramer  were  found  at    t'Aakaap,    or    Rietfontein,  with 

THE    GRIQUAS  327 

their  followers.  A  few  Koranas  were  also  encamped  at  the  same 
place.  Such  then  appears  to  have  been  the  position  of  the 
Griquas  who  acknowledged  the  authority  of  the  Koks.  The 
country  to  the  north  and  north-west  of  this  was  still  in  the  sole 
and  undisturbed  possession  of  the  Bushmen. 

Having  thus  traced  the  career  of  the  elder  Koks,  the  real 
founders  of  the  modem  Griquas,  to  this  point,  we  wUl  now 
pass  on  to  the  consideration  of  the  next  section,  especially  as 
the  latter  part  of  the  life  of  Cornelius  being  connected  with  the 
early  Griqua  Settlement,  it  will  be  better,  to  avoid  unnecessary 
repetition,  to  defer  any  further  remarks  which  we  may  have  to 
make  with  regard  to  his  actions  and  his  wanderings  until  we  treat 
upon  that  subject.  After  a  lengthened  life  he  died  at  'Kou'nou- 
sop's  drift  on  the  Vaal,  after  nominating  his  son  Adam  as  chief 
of  the  whole  Griqua  nation,  while  Cornelius  Kok  of  Campbell 
was  appointed  chief  of  the  family  branch  of  the  Koks. 

B. — The  Family  of  the  Africaanders  and  the  Clan  of  the  Jagers 

or  Hunters. 

The  Africaanders  belonged  to  a  large  tribe  of  Hottentots  who 
were  at  one  time  called  Jagers  or  the  Hunters,  and  who  lived 
within  a  hundred  miles  of  Capetown,  near  the  rugged  Witsenberg 
range  of  moimtains.  Unfortunately  the  original  native  name  has 
been  lost,  and  it  is  therefore  impossible  to  identify  them  with  any 
of  the  old  tribes  of  the  early  Dutch  Settlement.  Being  unable 
to  maintain  their  ground  against  the  continual  encroachments 
of  the  Dutch,  they  were  at  length  driven  back  from  one  point  to 
another  farther  in  the  interior,  while  those  who  lingered  behind 
were  compelled  to  become  the  submissive  serfs  of  the  farmers. 

The  Africaanders  were  the  ruling  family.  The  father  of  Jager 
Africaander,  the  most  prominent  and  notorious  member  of  it, 
had  succeeded  by  hereditary  right  to  the  chieftainship  of  the 
diminished  remnant  of  the  tribe,  which  he  resigned  to  his  eldest 
son  Jager,  afterwards  called  Christian  Africaander.  In  his 
younger  days  he  had  pastured  his  own  flocks  and  hunted  his 
own  game  not  only  over  the  Witsenberg  but  the  Winterhoek 
mountains,  once  the  strongholds  of  his  clan.  He  had  a  dash  of 
European  blood  in  his  veins.  For  a  considerable  time  he  lived 
in  the  service  of  a  farmer  in  the  district  of  Tulbagh,  part  of  his 

328  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH   AFRICA 

time  being  employed  in  tending  the  farmer's  cattle,  which  were 
sent  at  certain  seasons  to  the  vicinity  of  the  Great  river. 

It  was  about  this  time  that  the  Cape  first  came  into  the 
hands  of  the  English,  when  a  report  was  industriously  circulated  by 
evil-minded  persons  that  all  the  Hottentots  were  to  be  forced 
into  the  army,  with  the  design  of  sending  them  out  of  Africa. 
This  report  induced  Africaander  and  his  sons  to  resolve  to  leave 
the  colony  altogether,  or  to  live  near  its  limits,  to  escape  being 
forced  into  the  army. 

Their  master,  Piet  Pienaar,  who  appears  to  have  been  in- 
vested with  the  authority  of  a  fieldcornet,  trekking  about  the 
same  time,  they  removed  with  him  to  the  extreme  border  beyond 
the  Oliphant  river. 

Here,  Africaander  and  his  sons,  Jager,  Titus,  Klaas,  David, 
and  Jacobus,  together  with  the  remains  of  his  tribe,  which 
had  now  dwindled  to  a  few  families,  took  up  their  abode.  On 
account  of  the  increasing  age  of  the  father  and  the  shrewdness 
and  prowess  of  the  eldest  son,  Jager,  the  latter  had  obtained 
the  reins  of  government  of  his  tribe  at  an  early  age.  Pienaar 
found  in  him  a  faithful  and  intrepid  shepherd,  while  his  valour 
in  defending  and  increasing  the  herds  and  flocks  of  his  master 
enhanced  his  value,  at  the  same  time  that  it  rapidly  matured 
the  latent  principle  which  afterwards  recoiled  on  the  devoted 
family  and  carried  devastation  to  whatever  quarter  he  directed 
his  steps.  He  and  his  brothers  were  for  a  considerable  time 
employed  by  Pienaar  in  commandos  against  the  Bushmen, 
Namaquas,  and  other  defenceless  natives  of  the  interior,  and 
were  furnished  with  muskets  and  powder  for  that  purpose.  In 
this  way  they  were  taught  to  rob  for  their  master,  which  ulti- 
mately led  to  their  setting  up  for  themselves. 

On  these  occasions  the  unhappy  victims  of  their  attack  were 
generally  surprised  in  their  villages  at  night,  the  men  were  shot, 
and  the  surviving  women  and  children,  together  with  the  cattle, 
were  captured.  When  these  commandos  were  undertaken,  the 
practice  was  for  a  few  Boers  to  unite  their  separate  strength, 
and  the  principal  part  of  the  booty  was  divided  among  themselves, 
a  fractional  share  only  being  given  to  the  slaves  or  Hottentots 
who  were  in  their  service.  There  were  at  that  time  a  few  Boers 
in  that  district  who  were  noted  for  the  cruelties  and  murders 

THE    GRIQUAS  329 

they  committed  upon  the  defenceless  natives  in  these  marauding 
and  plundering  expeditions,  and  among  these  the  name  of 
Pienaar  was  not  the  least  notorious.  We  have  already  seen  the 
success  which  attended  some  of  these  unjustifiable  forays,  and 
the  lion's  share  which  fell  to  Pienaar  upon  such  occasions.  Not 
only  avaricious,  but  licentious  and  cruel,  his  conduct  towards  the 
females  on  his  farm  at  length  aroused  the  jealousyof  Africaander 
and  his  brothers. 

On  expeditions  where  plunder  was  |the  object,  Pienaar 
generally  accompanied  the  party,  but  when  they  were  not 
engaged  in  such  serious  matters  they  were  often  sent  from  home 
under  circumstances  which  confirmed  the  suspicions  to  which 
allusion  has  already  been  made,  the  wives  and  daughters  of  the 
chief  and  his  brothers  being  the  principal  objects  of  these  illicit 
attentions.  The  Africaanders  had  been  trained  to  the  use  of 
firearms,  and  to  act  not  only  on  the  defensive,  but  the  offensive 
also,  and  now  they,  who  had  been  signally  expert  in  recapturing 
stolen  cattle  from  the  Bushmen,  refused  to  go  on  any  more  such 
expeditions.  A  tempest  was  brooding  in  their  bosoms.  They 
signified  their  wish,  with  the  farmer's  permission,  to  have  some 
reward  for  their  often  galling  servitude,  and  to  be  allowed  to 
retire  to  some  of  the  sequestered  districts  beyond,  where  they 
might  dwell  in  peace.  This  desire  was  however  sternly  refused, 
and  followed  by  severity  still  more  grievous. 

Had  Pienaar  treated  his  subjects  with  common  humanity, 
not  to  say  gratitude,  he  might  have  died  honourably  and  prevented 
the  catastrophe  which  befell  the  family  and  the  train  of  robbery, 
crime,  and  bloodshed  which  quickly  followed  that  event.  An 
incident,  however,  shortly  afterwards  occurred  which  brought 
matters  to  a  climax.  Information  having  come  to  Pienaar 
that  the  Bushmen  had  carried  off  some  cattle  from  a  Boer  belong- 
ing to  the  district  over  which  he  was  fieldcornet,  he  in  his  official 
capacity  commanded  them  to  pursue  the  Bushmen,  in  order  to 
recapture  the  cattle.  This  order  they  positively  refused  to  obey, 
alleging  that  his  only  motive  for  sending  them  on  such  an  expedi- 
tion was  that  they  might  be  murdered,  and  he  thereby  get 
possession  of  their  wives.  Order  after  order  was  sent  to 
their  huts  to  summon  them  into  the  presence  of  their  master, 
but  which,  in  a  dogged  manner,  they  left  unheeded. 

330  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

In  the  evening  Jager,  with  his  brothers  and  some  attendants, 
being  again  summoned  by  the  exasperated  farmer  to  appear 
at  the  door  of  his  house,  moved  slowly  up  towards  it.  Titus, 
the  next  brother  to  the  chief,  dreading  the  farmer  in  his  wrath, 
took  his  gun  with  him,  which  it  being  night  he  easily  concealed. 
On  reaching  the  front  of  the  house,  Jager,  the  chief,  went  up  the 
few  steps  of  the  stoep  leading  to  the  door,  to  state  their  complaints, 
when  Pienaar  with  his  gun  in  his  hand  rushed  furiously  on  the 
chieftain,  and  with  one  blow  precipitated  him  to  the  bottom  of 
the  steps.  Jager  at  the  same  moment  seizing  the  gun,  which 
was  loaded  with  small  shot,  lodged  the  contents  in  his  master's 

As  soon  as  Pienaar  fell,  the  Africaanders  entered  the  house, 
when  the  wife,  who  had  witnessed  the  murder  of  her  husband, 
shrieked  and  implored  for  mercy.  They  told  her  not  to  be 
alarmed,  for  they  had  nothing  against  her.  They  asked  for  the 
guns  and  ammunition  which  were  in  the  place,  which  she  promptly 
delivered  to  them.  They  then  charged  her  not  to  leave  the 
house  during  the  night,  as  they  could  not  ensure  her  safety  if 
she  and  her  family  attempted  to  take  to  flight.  This  admoni- 
tion was  however  disregarded,  for  overcome  with  terror  two 
children  who  attempted  to  escape  by  the  back  door  were  imme- 
diately shot  by  a  couple  of  Bushmen  who  were  lying  in  wait. 
Mrs.  Pienaar  herself  succeeded  in  reaching  the  nearest  farm  in 

Immediately  after  the  fatal  occurrence,  Africaander  rallied 
the  remnant  of  his  tribe,  and  with  his  family  and  the  Hottentots 
in  the  service  of  Pienaar  fled  with  as  much  expedition  as  possible 
towards  Great  Namaqualand,  carrying  with  them  whatever 
spoil  they  could  secure,  as  well  as  all  the  muskets  and  ammuni- 
tion which  formerly  belonged  to  their  master.  Having  suc- 
ceeded in  effecting  his  retreat  across  the  Great  river,  he  fixed 
his  abode  on  the  opposite  bank.  From  this  point  the  formidable 
chief  commenced  his  daring  exploits  against  both  the  colonists 
and  the  neighbouring  tribes,  filling  the  borders  of  the  colony  to 
an  extent  of  not  less  than  three  hundred  miles  with  the  terror 
of  his  name. 

Attempts  were  made  both  on  the  part  of  the  colonial  govern- 
ment and  the  Boers  themselves  to  avenge  this  outrage  upon  the 

THE    GRIQUAS  33i 

Pienaar  family,  but  the  attempts  were  futile,  and  Africaander, 
notwithstanding  their  commandos  and  the  rewards  they  offered 
for  his  apprehension  dead  or  alive,  maintained  his  position,  and 
dared  them  to  approach,  his  territory.  In  the  meanwhile  he 
and  his  brothers  were  not  long  in  commencing  offensive  opera- 
tions, and  making  reprisals  upon  the  Colony.  In  their  first 
expedition  they  took  the  farmers  by  surprise,  and  murdered  a 
Boer  named  Engelbrecht,  and  likewise  a  Bastaard-Hottentot, 
from  whom  they  carried  off  much  cattle. 

Immediately  the  missionaries  arrived  at  Warm  Bath  in  the 
Great  Namaqua  country,  Africaander  with  his  family  came  and 
took  up  his  residence  near  them.  For  a  time  he  behaved  in  an 
orderly  and  peaceable  manner,  but  a  circumstance  occurred 
which  led  to  the  ruin  of  the  settlement.  Jager  and  Titus,  as 
they  dared  not  visit  Capetown  themselves  after  the  murders 
they  had  perpetrated,  employed  a  Hottentot  named  Hans  Dreyer 
to  take  three  spans  or  teams  of  oxen  thither  ;  with  two  spans 
of  these  he  was  desired  to  purchase  a  waggon  for  them,  and 
with  the  third  to  bring  it  home.  On  the  way  to  Capetown  Hans 
met  a  Boer  to  whom  he  was  in  debt,  for  which  the  Boer  seized 
the  whole  of  the  oxen,  upon  which  Hans  returned  to  Namaqua- 
land,  and  refused  to  give  any  account  of  the  oxen_^entrusted  to 
his  care.  This  conduct  of  Hans  so  exasperated  the  sons  of 
Africaander  that  they  attacked  his  kraal  and  murdered  him. 

Not  long  after  this  occurrence  the  friends  of  Hans,  with  the 
assistance  of  some  Namaquas,  in  their  turn  attacked  the  kraal 
of  Africaander,  and  he,  to  be  revenged  on  the  Namaquas  for 
aiding  them  against  him,  fell  upon  their  kraal.  These,  finding 
themselves  too  weak  to  resist  him,  implored  assistance  from  the 
Namaquas  at  Warm  Bath,  who,  complying  with  their  request, 
sent  out  a  large  armed  party  to  defend  them,  which  so  enraged 
Africaander  that  he  threatened  destruction  to  the  settlement. 
He  accomplished  his  threat  in  part,  for  he  came  against  them 
and  carried  off  a  great  number  of  their  cattle.  A  numerous 
party  of  Namaquas  pursued  him  to  his  kraal,  where  they  carried 
on  a  kind  of  war,  shooting  at  each  other  from  behind  bushes, 
none  of  them  possessing  sufficient  courage  to  meet  in  the  open 
field.  However  the  Namaquas  at  length  devised  a  prudent 
scheme  for  regaining  _their  cattle,  by  taking  possession  of  the 

332  THE    RACES    OF    SOUTH    AFRICA 

watering  place.  In  spite  of  Africaander's  people,  the  cattle 
when  thirsty  made  their  way  to  the  water,  and  were  carried  off 
in  triumph  by  the  Namaquas. 

Africaander,  renewing  his  threatenings  against  the  Nama- 
quas at  Warm  Bath,  so  intimidated  them  that  they  with  the 
missionaries  removed  over  the  Great  river  to  a  place  in  Little 
or  South  Namaqualand.  He  commenced  his  operations  by 
spreading  devastation  around  the  settlement ;  for  a  whole  month 
the  missionaries  were  in  a  state  of  terror,  hourly  expecting  the 
threatened  attack.  The  natives  likened  him  to  a  lion,  whose 
roar  made  the  inhabitants  of  even  distant  hamlets  fly  from  their 
homes.  Yes,  said  one  of  their  chiefs,  I  have  for  fear  of  his 
approach  fled  with  my  people,  our  wives,  and  our  children  to 
the  mountain  glens  or  wilderness,  and  spent  nights  amongst 
the  beasts  of  prey,  rather  than  gaze  on  the  eyes  of  this  Hon  and 
hear  his  roar.  On  one  occasion  the  missionaries  dug  square 
holes  in  the  ground,  about  six  feet  deep,  that  in  case  of  an  attack 
they  might  escape  the  balls  ;  there  they  remained  for  the  space 
of  a  week,  having  the  tilt  sail  of  a  waggon  thrown  over  the  mouth 
of  the  pit  to  keep  off  the  burning  rays  of  an  almost  vertical  sun. 

At  length  this  life  of  suspense  and  anxiety  became  insup- 
portable, and  they  retreated  with  their  people  to  the  south  of 
the  Great  river.  Scarcely  had  they  departed  when  Africaander 
made  his  appearance  before  the  place.  Finding  it  abandoned, 
his  followers  commenced  a  rigid  search  for  any  spoils  which 
might  have  been  concealed  in  the  earth,  and  in  this  they  were 
but  too  successful.  One  of  the  chieftain's  attendants  strayed 
in  the  burying-ground,  where  already  a  few  mounds  distinguished 
it  from  the  surrounding  waste  as  a  place  for  the  dead.  Stepping 
over  what  he  supposed  to  be  a  newly-closed  grave,  he  heard  to 
his  surprise  soft  notes  of  music  vibrate  beneath.  He  stood 
motionless,  gazing  over  his  shoulder  with  open  mouth  and  eyes 
dilated,  hesitating  whether  to  stand  still  and  see  the  dead  arise, 
which  he  had  heard  the  missionaries  preach  about,